Beijing Yanjing Brewery has countered local reports claiming that Chinese beer contains formaldehyde. In a statement posted in major securities newspapers, the Chinese brewer said that it did not use the chemical, thought to be used to prevent sediment forming during storage.

"This company's production is organised strictly and according to the country's standards, and has always maintained the motto 'quality first, priority on customers'," the brewer said.

Earlier this week, the Korean Food and Drug Administration said it had decided to test Chinese beer imports for formaldehyde before allowing them to clear customs. Japan has also asked importers of Chinese beer into the country to check with their manufacturers whether the beers contain the chemical, more commonly used to preserve dead bodies and as a disinfectant.

A letter to The Global Times in China last week, claiming to be from a beer inspector, sparked the controversy by saying that many breweries in the country use formaldehyde as an additive.