Products marketed by Nestle and Unilever have reportedly been among those being copied by manufacturers in China making fake sauces and flavourings.

Reports in China have claimed workshops in the city of Tianjin are making fake seasonings, sauces, stocks and spices that are then sold under brands owned by the food giants. Hong Kong-based sauce maker Lee Kum Kee International Holdings and Chinese spice firm Wang Shouyi have also been targeted, reports say.

The practice has been going on for a decade, the reports said. Last week, police and officials from Wang Shouyi visited the workshops and arrests were made, The Beijing News said.

In a statement to just-food, Nestle said: “Nestle condemns any illegal counterfeiting of food and beverage products. We take reports of potential counterfeiting in China, including Nestle products and brands, very seriously. Nestle China is working closely with the authorities to identify and take action against counterfeiters in order to protect consumers. Our experts are helping the authorities distinguish authentic Nestle products from counterfeits.”

The world’s largest food maker added: “The alleged counterfeiting is limited to China and does not affect other countries.”

Unilever had not replied to a request for comment at the time of writing. Lee Kum Kee and Wang Shouyi were approached for comment.