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China Prosecutes 16 Officials in Pork Scandal

04 April 2011

CHINA - Chinese prosecutors have placed official charges against 16 officials for dereliction of duty, failing to ferret out and block contaminated pork produce in central Henan, the country's most populous province.

The scandal, having antagonized tens of thousands of consumers throughout China, involves the Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co Ltd, headquartered in the province, producing and selling on the markets pork tainted with clenbuterol, a chemical addictive detrimental to human health.

The Supremie People's Procuratorate, based in Beijing, said that investigations are conducted into illicit acts of 12 government civil servants, mainly food quality quarantine inspectors and animal-epidemic prevention coordinators in Henan, and 4 civil servants with the commerce bureau and animal health control departments in East China's Jiangsu Province.

And, the prosecutors are also looking into allegations of another 41 law-enforcers in Henan Province who are also implicated having a role in the scandal. Meanwhile, 72 hog farmers and brokers suspected of producing and selling tainted pork to the Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co Ltd, are ordered not to leave their residences" for further investigation.

The Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co Ltd, was accused this past month of purchasing pigs fed with clenbuterol, also called "lean meat powder". The banned supplement, which is often used to produce leaner meat, can cause heart palpitations and dizziness in human beings.

Wan Long, board chairman of Shuanghui Group, apologized Thursday to consumers on behalf of the company, the second time he has done so after the exposure of the company's use of the illegal additive Wan said the incident has cost his firm more than 12.1 billion yuan ($1.85 billion).

The country's quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the China Association for Quality, said it is adopting a new system to assess the efficiency of the quality supervision measures undertaken by local governments.

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