Supreme Court vows crackdown to punish food safety cheats

Xinhua, November 25, 2011

China's Supreme People's Court vowed to harshly crack down on bribery, abuse of power and malpractice in food safety cases as such illegalities have become top concerns for Chinese people.

Chinese courts at all levels had heard 173 cases and sentenced 255 people in relation to the production and sale of unsafe food in the first ten months of this year, Sun Jungong, spokesman of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), said Thursday.

"China has seen a growing number of food safety cases in recent years with increasing difficulties for investigation," Sun said.

According to the SPC, Chinese courts handled 84 food safety cases in 2008, and 148 and 119 cases in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The number of food safety violators sentenced in the past three years totaled 101, 208 and 162, respectively.

The SPC also promulgated four typical food safety illegalities exposed in recent years.

In the latest food safety scandal, four people in central China's Henan province were prosecuted for the crime of "endangering public security by using dangerous means" in July after they were found to have produced and sold clenbuterol, a poisonous feed additive that pig farms use to boost the output of lean meat.

The spokesman said the SPC will strengthen cooperation with police and procuratorial organs to improve the efficiency of dealing with, and preventing food safety crimes.