Chinese television ads for a freckle remover that claimed it was so effective it removed spots from fish have been banned after researchers discovered it kills fish.

Not only does "Magic Freckle Removing Gel" kill fish, it also causes rashes and blisters on people who have tried it, the Beijing News reports in a recent issue.

The paper cites a report on Chinese state television that says a Chinese research institute applied the gel to fish. The fish later died from poisoning.

"[The institute] carried out a test washing the fish's spots in the gel. Two fish died successively on the third and sixth days," the paper said.

The gel, produced by a Shanghai company, uses a plant-based compound found in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce fever and phlegm. The company promoted the gel using a celebrity and bogus experts, the newspaper article said.

The paper said the issue came to light after consumers in Shanghai, Beijing and several Chinese provinces complained of "rashes, skin inflammation, blistering, coloured spots and other adverse reactions" after using the gel.

Investigation ordered

China's trade watchdog, the State Administration of Commerce and Industry, has banned the ad and ordered an investigation.

The advertisements are no longer on television, but people can still buy the product on the internet, the paper said.

According to a Reuters report, Chinese consumers are growing more and more angry over recent health scares after unsafe productshave beenreleased onto the market. It said the government is trying to crack down on false and misleading ads.