248 arrested in China for food safety in 2010

08:12, January 31, 2011      

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A total of 248 people were arrested in China last year for involvement in food safety cases, food safety authorities said Sunday.

The country dealt with 130,000 cases involving food safety last year, including 115 criminal cases, according to a statement of the National Food Safety Regulating Work Office.

The cases touched upon such areas as production of edible agricultural produce, food production, food circulation, catering services and food exports and imports,

"No major incident occurred last year, and the overall food safety situation maintained stable," said the statement.

Last year also saw a nationwide crackdown on "gutter oil", usually made from discarded kitchen waste that has been refined, after media reports that it was commonly used by small restaurants.

Since July when the State Council, or Cabinet, ordered the eradication of "gutter oil", 165.7 tons of edible oil has been confirmed to have been disqualified and produced by unknown sources.

Chinese authorities since July last year have also cracked down on the use of undisposed tainted milk powder produced before the melamine scandal of 2008.

About 2,132 tonnes of melamine-tainted milk powder was seized in the latest crackdown, the statement said.

A total of 191 officials were punished for failing to do their duty in food safety enforcement, with 26 of them fired, it said.

In July last year, Dongyuan milk powder, produced in west China's Qinghai Province, was found to contain excessive levels of melamine, a toxic chemical normally used in the manufacturing of plastics, which triggered the nationwide crackdown.

It is the latest blitz on tainted milk products since 2008 when melamine-tainted milk powder killed at least six infants and sickened 300,000 children across the country.

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