BEIJING, March 18 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities, facing a tainted pork scandal, have launched a massive effort to intercept the product before it can reach consumers, officials said.
The China Daily, in a lengthy article on the scandal at the country's largest meat processor, reported Friday consumers confidence has been rattled by the scandal. The issue involves an affiliate of the country's giant meat processor Henan Shuanghui Investment and Development.
The scandal began after a recent report by China Central Television that the affiliate, Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co. Ltd., had bought pigs that had allegedly been fed with the banned clenbuterol, which helps speed up muscle-building and growth of lean meat but can cause dizziness and heart palpitations among people consuming the product.
In an earlier report, China Daily said Shuanghui Group, the holding company, had issued an apology to consumers and had asked Jiyuan Shuanghui to stop production while the claims are investigated.
The newspaper said Friday authorities across the country were seeking to intercept the tarnished meat products before they reach consumers. The report quoted local officials as saying urine tests since the television disclosure showed 19 pigs, among 689 awaiting slaughter and processing at the Jiyuan Shuanghui Food in central Henan province, tested positive for clenbuterol.
The report said 14 people, including seven pig farm managers, six brokers and one purchaser from Jiyuan Shuanghui, have been detained by police and at least six officials and workers at local animal quarantine stations in Henan province have been fired or suspended.
Actions in other provinces have included suspension of operations at slaughterhouses that had bought pigs from Henan. In Beijing, authorities were conducting spot checks targeting all live pigs from Henan province.