China / Society

Probe into medicine firm accused of using 'gutter oil'

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-02 07:47

BEIJING - The government of Central China's Jiaozuo city said Saturday an inquiry team has been sent to a local pharmaceutical firm which was accused of manufacturing an antibiotic intermediate using reprocessed used cooking oil.

The move came one day after the State Food and Drug Administration announced to investigate the truth of the media exposure.

The drug watchdog had organized experts to evaluate the safety risk of the involved cephalosporin antibiotics, for one of its materials is made by using soya-bean oil which could have been blended with the wasted cooking oil, according to its statement publicized on Friday.

Chinese media reported on Tuesday that a subsidiary of Joincare Pharmaceutical Group Industry Co, Ltd, located in Jiaozuo, purchased the "gutter oil" and used it to produce the widely used antibiotics intermediate - 7-ACA.

"Gutter oil", referring to reprocessed oil made from kitchen waste dredged from gutters behind restaurants, has been in the middle of a spate of food safety scandals in China after it was found to be illegally reused by restaurants or bottled for sale.

Joincare produces 25 percent of total amount of 7-ACA used in the country, according to media reports.

The Joincare Group Thursday released a statement on its website refuting the media's reports and said it was willing to accept government's supervision and inspection.

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