Loose monitoring leads to illegal food

Updated: 2011-09-27 08:02

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Loose regulations and monitoring have led to the rampant production and sales of illegal food and drugs, officers with Shanghai High People's Court said on Monday.

As many as 53 cases involving illegal production and sales of fake and harmful food and drugs have been concluded in Shanghai since 2008, with 117 people penalized.

In some cases, when quality monitors went to check food and drug production, they did not go to check the production line. Instead, they waited for staff members of the factory to deliver samples.

"In such cases, all the samples were carefully chosen as producers have to rely on these samples to pass quality inspections. However, the quality of their products were far lower than the samples," said He Pingfan, spokesman of Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court.

Regulatory supervision of sales is also impeded due to faulty monitoring, said He.

Supermarkets, for example, are obliged to stop selling expired food and destroy it. However, some supermarkets just rewrite the manufacturing date and put the food back onto shelves.

In a recent case of colored steamed buns in Shanghai, the manufacturer collected unsold, expired steamed buns from supermarkets and processed the buns again, labeling a new date of production and reselling the buns.

However, no quality inspectors involved in the case have been sued as their faults have not met the standard of crimes, said He.

The cases of illegal production and sales of fake and harmful food and drugs in Shanghai share some features, said Ding Shouxing, deputy director of Shanghai High People's Court.

Products involved in the crimes cover a wide range, including buns, pork, milk, salt, wines, food additives and drugs. Most of the crimes were discovered in suburban areas, and defendants in the cases are not well-educated, said Ding.

"A striking feature is the clear division of labor in the cases, which involves production, supply and sales," he said.

Severe penalties will be given to those involved in crimes of illegal production and sales of food and drugs based on the eighth amendment of the Criminal Law, which came into effect in May, said Ding.

Ye Weilu, general manger of the food company that produced and sold dyed steam buns, was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined 650,000 yuan ($102,000) on Tuesday.

The food company had allegedly sold more than 270,000 packets of dyed buns worth of about 620,000 yuan between October 2010 and April this year.

Xu Jianming, production manager, and Xie Weixian, sales manager, were each sentenced to five years and fined 200,000 yuan on Tuesday.

China Daily

(China Daily 09/27/2011 page5)