China resorts massive crackdown food safety concerns

China resorts to massive crackdown on food safety concerns

5:26 PM, 9th August 2011
China resorts to massive crackdown on food safety concerns


BEIJING, CHINA: The Chinese authorities has arrested around 2,000 people and closed nearly 5,000 businesses in a major crackdown on illegal food additives after a wave of contamination scares, informed a government agency.

The arrests resulted from inspections begun in April of nearly six million businesses in the country’s food manufacturing industry by some 3.5 million enforcement officers, a state-run news agency reported, citing China’s Food Safety Commission.

China has arrested around 2,000 people in a major four-month campaign against toxic food additives. The campaign was launched in China, in April following a spate of tainted food scandals - included toxic milk, dyed buns and pork found on the market so loaded with bacteria that it reportedly glowed in the dark.

Nearly six million food businesses have now been investigated as part of the crackdown, launched in an effort to shore up plummeting public confidence in Chinese-made food products.

More than 4,900 were shut down for “Illegal practices,” the agency said. Police have also destroyed “Underground” food production and storage sites and arrested around 2,000 suspects, it said. “All regions and relevant departments will continue to carry out the crackdown on illegal food additives and firmly punish criminals and spare no effort to safeguard peoples’ food safety,” it said.

China has repeatedly pledged to clean up its vast food industry after milk products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, added to give the appearance of high protein content, killed at least six babies and sickened 300,000 in 2008.

The scandal caused huge outrage and the following year China passed a food safety law to try to allay public concern but the country has since been hit with numerous food scares.

Authorities have discovered bean sprouts laced with cancer-causing nitrates, steamed buns with banned chemical preservatives, and rice laced with heavy metals, prompting the latest crackdown.

Experts say there are many causes of food safety problems in China, including ambiguous regulations that create loopholes and underfunded regulators who struggle to keep tabs on countless small food producers and retailers.

© Xinhua News agency




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