China arrests 110 for peddling pork from diseased pigs

IN A POKE::After a series of food safety scandals that involved McDonald’s and other global firms, a long-term pork supply probe led to a string of prosecutions

Reuters, SHANGHAI

Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - Page 5

China has arrested more than 110 people suspected of selling pork from pigs that died from disease and confiscated more than 1,000 tonnes of contaminated pork in its latest crackdown on food safety violations.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security on Sunday said that the suspects were part of a network made up of 11 groups who, since 2008, had been buying pigs that had died of illnesses from livestock farms at low prices.

PROSECUTIONS

The meat was sold to markets in 11 provinces, including Henan and Guangxi, or was processed into bacon or cooking oil for sale, it said, adding that the accused also bribed food supervisory authorities to obtain quarantine certificates.

Of the suspects, 75 have been prosecuted, the ministry said.

Several food quarantine staff have also been sent to prosecutors, the ministry added, saying its investigation of the network began at the end of 2013.

DONKEYS, PIGS

Food safety remains a major concern in China in the wake of a series of high-profile scandals involving adulterated milk powder and mislabeled donkey meat.

The scandals have embroiled such foreign corporations as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and McDonald’s Corp.

In 2013, more than 10,000 dead pigs were found floating down Shanghai’s Huangpu River, after the regional government cracked down on criminal gangs that had allegedly been selling abandoned carcasses on the black market.

China’s top food watchdog on Wednesday last week said that food and drug safety was “grim,” while pledging stronger oversight.