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People's Daily Online>>China Business

113 sentenced over tainted pork scandal

(Xinhua)

11:34, November 27, 2011

AUTHORITIES in central China's Henan Province have sentenced 113 people, including 77 government employees, for their roles in a tainted pork scandal that surfaced in March.

Punishment ranged from jail terms to a reprieved death penalty, the Henan Provincial Higher People's Court said.

Liu Xiang was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve after he was found guilty of harming public safety, it said. Liu's clandestine workshop produced clenbuterol, a carcinogenic chemical added to pig feed to produce leaner pork, was found in Nanzhang County on March 25, the court said. Liu's collaborator, Xi Zhongjie, was sentenced to life in prison, it said.

Liu and Xi invested 50,000 yuan (US$7,845) each in clenbuterol production in 2007 and sold the chemical to pig dealers for huge profits.

By March this year they had sold more than 2,700 kilograms of the chemical that spread to eight provinces including Henan, Shandong and Jiangsu. They had earned 6.4 million yuan in revenue.

The court statement said all the government employees involved in the scandal, including animal health inspectors and food safety officials, received tough penalties for negligence and abuse of power. They received jail terms from three to nine years.

The 36 pig farmers involved in the scandal were either put on probation or sentenced to prison for less than a year, it said.

In March, China Central Television reported that clenbuterol was detected in pigs purchased by a subsidiary company of Shuanghui Group, the country's largest meat processor.

The report was followed by a nationwide boycott of the Shuanghui brand and a food safety overhaul.

Clenbuterol is banned in China yet it continues to appear in its food supply.

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