Police have detained nine more people at two factories that supplied toxic industrial gelatin to drug capsule producers, local authorities said yesterday.
Police in east China's Zhejiang Province previously arrested 23 people who allegedly produced and sold pharmaceutical capsules made from industrial gelatin, which contains excessive levels of chromium.
Seven of the nine newly announced suspects worked at the Xueyang Glair Gelatin Factory in Fucheng County in the northern province of Hebei, the Xinhua news agency reported. The factory's owner, Song Xunjie, was detained on Monday on suspicion of arson, as he allegedly set fire to his plant to destroy evidence following a Sunday report by China Central Television that said his plant provided industrial gelatin to a capsule producer in Zhejiang.
Authorities have suspended production at the factory and sealed 200 tons of gelatin for further analysis.
The other two suspects worked at the Guifeng Gelatin Co in Jiangxi Province. The company allegedly sold industrial gelatin labeled as edible gelatin to capsule producers. Another five employees of the company are being monitored by the police, said the statement.
In Shanghai, one batch of capsules produced in a plant in Zhejiang Province was found to contain excessive chromium, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said yesterday.
Local authorities have ordered a citywide screening and removal of all medicines on the blacklist, including 13 medicines from nine pharmaceutical companies. Shanghai also checked two local capsule-manufacturing companies and some 40 pharmaceutical companies using capsules.
No chromium-tainted products were detected at the two local capsule manufacturers, while one batch of capsules used by a Shanghai pharmaceutical company was found to have excessive chromium, the Shanghai FDA said.
The authority has netted the whole batch of capsules produced by Kangnuo Capsule Co Ltd in Zhejiang's Xinchang County and informed Zhejiang authorities.
"We have ordered Kangnuo to recall all tainted capsules," said Du Bing, a Shanghai FDA official. "Its products will be put on a black list banned from local market."
Two capsule companies - Zhuokang Capsule Co Ltd and Huaxing Capsule Plant - were exposed by the CCTV program of producing capsules with industrial gelatin, which contains a much higher degree of chromium than edible gelatin.