China has arrested more than 110 people, suspected of selling pork from pigs that died from disease, and confiscated more than 1,000 tonnes of contaminated pork in its latest crackdown on food safety violations.
The Ministry of Public Security said on Sunday the people were part of a network made up of 11 groups who, since 2008, had been buying pigs that had died of illnesses from livestock farms at low prices.
The meat was sold off to markets in 11 provinces, including Henan and Guangxi, or was processed into bacon or cooking oil for sale. The accused also bribed food supervisory authorities to obtain quarantine certificates, the ministry said.
Seventy-five of the suspects have been prosecuted. Several food quarantine staff have also been sent to prosecutors, said the ministry, which had been investigating the network since the end of 2013.
Food safety remains a major concern in China after a series of high-profile scandals that has involved tainted milk powder as well as donkey meat. The scandals have embroiled foreign corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and McDonald's
In 2013, more than 10,000 dead pigs were found floating down Shanghai's Huangpu river after the regional government cracked down on criminal gangs that had been selling abandoned carcasses as meat on the black market, fuelling overcrowding on farms.
China's top food watchdog said last Wednesday food and drug safety was "grim" and pledged stronger oversight. (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Paul Tait)