SHENZHEN: The markets watchdog of this southern city has launched an
investigation into a scandal that unlicensed and unhygienic pork was supplied to
a local market.
"We are very concerned about the issue. We will take appropriate action to
punish the market if the allegations are confirmed," a spokesman for the
Shenzhen industrial and commerce bureau told China Daily yesterday.
"We will destroy the unlicensed pork and boost efforts to ensure food safety
for local people."
The local newspaper Daily Sunshine reported on Monday that about 260 live
pigs, including ones that were sick and dying, were butchered daily at three
illegal slaughterhouses before being transported to the nearby Guohui farm
products market, a large-scale wet market in the Nanshan district of Shenzhen.
Undercover reporters also discovered that each of the pigs was injected with
about 20 kg of water to falsely boost its weight and hence its value.
The scandal comes at a time when the retail price of pork is at a record high
across the nation.
According to the report, the operators of the illegal business were making
about 1,200 yuan ($160) profit for each 50 kg pig they sold.
The unlicensed butchers, who worked from 2 am to 7 am each day, were also
said to be earning more than 5,000 yuan a month, compared with the local average
wage of about 3,000 yuan.
The market's manager, surnamed Liu, said all the pork on sale was from a
government-authorized slaughterhouse. However, reporters could find receipts for
just 19 pigs, far less than the number on sale.
According to the newspaper report, a man surnamed Ye, who is in charge of the
pork stalls at Guohui market, admitted that unlicensed and problem meat had been
sold. However, he promised to rectify the situation.
Shenzhen residents said they were anxious and angry about the alleged
"I buy pork from the market every day, but I never doubted its quality until
I read the news. How can the market's management be so irresponsible? How can
they neglect the people's health?" a woman surnamed Ma said.
The city's food safety system stipulates that all pork is quarantined before
going on sale, and that all wet markets and supermarkets buy their meat from
(China Daily 07/11/2007 page4)