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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Panic grows over capsule scandal

By Liu Meng (Global Times)

08:16, April 18, 2012

Analysts warned yesterday that ineffective supervision and inadequate production of edible gelatin left room for manufacturers to use industrial gelatin in medical capsules, as exposed in the latest public scandal.

The Hebei Xueyang Glair and Gelatin Factory in Fucheng county, Hebei Province, had been selling its industrial gelatin to capsule producers in Zhejiang Province and in the cities of Beijing, Changzhou and Xiamen, the Xinhua News Agency reported, citing investigators.

The company's head has been detained for trying to destroy evidence. The firm was exposed for having used scraps of leather to produce gelatin.

The probe was launched after the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) issued an emergency notice Sunday halting the sale and consumption of 13 drugs packed in capsules confirmed to contain excessive levels of chromium.

A press officer with the Beijing Drug Administration told the Global Times that they had found four of the 13 drugs on sale in Beijing but these had been taken off the shelves.

Media reports said the practice of using industrial gelatin in capsules can be dated back to a decade ago, and the exposed 13 drugs may just be the tip of the iceberg.

An owner of a gelatin factory told the Southern Metropolis Daily that market demand for industrial gelatin is huge.

"The network for selling industrial gelatin to food and pharmaceutical industries is highly profitable. Any attempt to wipe out such malpractice would only be in vain as producers would go underground," the owner told the daily.

The worrisome images of collected shoes being processed into gelatin for capsule production have sparked a panic among the public.

Angered by the scandal, some Internet users started discussions on how to take the capsules safely.

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