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Shanghai shops closed in fake mutton scandal

By WANG HONGYI in Shanghai (China Daily)

08:18, May 07, 2013

Nine cooked food stores that sold fake mutton in Shanghai have been temporarily or permanently closed and 70 kilograms of fake mutton has been destroyed, Shanghai's food safety authority said on Monday.

The Ministry of Public Security revealed on Thursday details of a criminal gang in Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, that produced and sold fake mutton made from fox, mink and rat meat to agricultural markets.

Sixty-three suspects were arrested on suspicion of selling more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) worth of fake mutton over three years.

The suspects passed the meat off as mutton by adding gelatine, carmine, nitrate and other substances and sold it in Shanghai and Jiangsu province, it said.

The news caused a scare among residents. Over the weekend Shanghai's food safety, public security and industrial and commercial departments worked together to investigate where the fake mutton was sent.

On Monday, Shanghai authorities released a statement saying the stores involved have been checked and the food destroyed.

The gang sold the fake mutton door-to-door to nine private cooked food stores in Shanghai, the statement said.

More than 70 kg of fake mutton has been destroyed. It sold at 22 to 24 yuan per kilogram, about double the cost, according to the statement.

So far, one store has closed and the other eight have been required to suspend business and rectify the situation.

Eight of the business operators have been arraigned, and two are awaiting trial on bail.

Shanghai's industrial and commercial administration is still examining the other food in these stores.

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