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Inferior Meat Producers and Sellers Face Penalties

The Ministry of Health Thursday issued an emergency notice saying that anyone producing and marketing inferior meat products will be severely punished.

Recently there have been several instances of storing, producing and marketing bad meat throughout the country. A number of people have been arrested, said officials.

Eating meat and meat products from animals which died from unknown causes or which did not pass quarantine tests or which came from countries with epidemics can seriously harm people's health.

They could be poisoned and infected by diseases such as mad-cow disease.

The ministry has told its branches at various levels to enhance supervision efforts in producing, quarantine, marketing and other activities during the processing of meat.

A thorough examination of meat products is taking place now at all meat producing and marketing sites. It will continue until the end of the month.

The examination will focus on packing houses and freezers to see whether they are storing, producing and marketing unqualified meat products.

And the sanitary conditions of these places must meet the required standards issued by central and local government departments.

Any enterprise and individual involved in producing, storing and marketing bad meat products will be severely punished according to the country's laws and regulations, the notice added.

All "unqualified" meat found during the examination will be sealed and destroyed as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, efforts will be made to prevent unqualified meats found during the examination from being marketed again.

Various government departments such as public security and customs are being called on to work together to fight against this kind of criminal activity.

Many big cases have been uncovered recently and the ministry is devoting itself to tracing other cases.

In Haila'er in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, 230 sheep which had died for unknown reasons and 500 kilograms of unsafe sheep legs were found in storage. Three suspects were detained by police.

In Shaoyang, Hunan Province, 2,000 kilograms of bad meat and 200 kilograms of bad lard have been found and destroyed recently.

(China Daily 06/14/2001)

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