Published On: Sat, May 4th, 2013

China ‘rat meat’ scandal results in more than 60 arrests, government says food-related crimes will receive harsher punishment

Some 63 people who allegedly ran an operation in Shanghai and the coastal city of Wuxi who bought rat and fox and passed it off as lamb were arrested as part of a  three-month food safety crackdown in China, according to an Associated Press report Thursday.

The meat was sold to farmers’ markets in Jiangsu province and Shanghai according to The Ministry of Public Security.

Image/National Park Service

Image/National Park Service

This food scandal is just the latest in a long string of highly publicized scandals, melamine-tainted infant formula scandal in 2008 for example, and comes when China’s high court is promising harsher punishments for food safety violators.

According to Xinhua news, The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate have issued interpretations that specify crimes related to food safety and set standards for the punishment for these crimes.

Court spokesman Sun Jungong said, “The explanations are believed to form a more rigorous system to punish crimes that threaten food safety.”

“The food safety situation is still very grave, because the number of crimes undermining food safety has been climbing with notorious cases related to food safety occurring now and then,” he said, citing particular cases involving the use of chemicals while processing meat products and the production of toxic bean sprouts.

The supreme court said prosecutions for food safety cases have grown exponentially in recent years.  For example, Chinese courts prosecuted 861 cases of poisonous food in 2012, compared to 80 cases in 2010.

“The situation is really grave and has indeed caused great harm to the people,” Pei Xianding, a supreme court judge, told a news conference.

“We cannot tolerate it any longer. We must punish the criminals severely, or we cannot answer to our people,” Pei said.


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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