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Published April 16, 2011, 05:19 PM

Chinese police detain 95 in tainted pig feed case

BEIJING — Chinese police have detained 95 people in connection with a case involving a subsidiary of China’s largest meat producer that used pork tainted with a toxic fat-burning drug in its products, Xinhua News Agency reported.

BEIJING — Chinese police have detained 95 people in connection with a case involving a subsidiary of China’s largest meat producer that used pork tainted with a toxic fat-burning drug in its products, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The detection in pig feed of the additive clenbuterol, which can reduce a pig’s body fat to produce lean meat, has once again undermined Chinese consumers’ confidence in the country’s food producers, the official news agency said.

It said the harmful chemical, which can cause cancer and other diseases in humans, was found in meat products from Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co., a subsidiary of the giant Shuanghui Group, in Jiyuan City of Henan Province.

Police have closed their investigations after having taken 95 people into custody between March 14 and 29 in the central provinces of Hubei, Henan, Shaanxi and Jiangsu, it said.

Wan Long, chief executive officer of the Shuanghui Group, made another public apology to consumers on March 31 for the subsidiary’s purchase of pigs fed with clenbuterol, and announced a series of mitigating actions to prevent a recurrence.

The scandal reportedly cost the company more than 12.1 billion yuan (about $1.85 billion) in just the two weeks after it was exposed by China Central Television on March 15.

Pork is the most popular meat in China, where each year more than 600 million pigs are slaughtered, according to Xinhua.

The central government has announced a one-year crackdown on illegal additives in pig feed that have proven to be toxic to humans.

China’s latest food scandal comes after the country’s dairy industry was severely harmed by the melamine-tainted milk powder scandal in 2008, in which at least six infants died and 300,000 children were sickened across the country.

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