A food company in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, has been fined 1.4 million yuan (S$305,800) for storing 32.86 tonnes of expired papaya products, some of which had been frozen for more than five years, Qianjiang evening news reported on Tuesday.
The products, confiscated at a storage facility in Jiangbei district in Ningbo, had expired more than two years ago, according to Wangwei, an officer responsible for market supervision in Jiangbei district, Ningbo.
"The food company has a long history with the facility, where large quantities of food, including papaya, were stored before 2010." Wang said.
An inspection conducted by Wang's team found that the food company purchased a total of 60 tonnes of expired frozen papaya, at a price of 6.7 yuan per kilogram between 2010 and 2011.
The inventory shows that around 34.22 tonnes of expired frozen papaya was taken from the refrigerator by the company for production between April to October in 2010, while the latest record shows 25 tonnes of expired frozen papaya products was sold to a food processing company.
Besides, the company also purchased another 24.23 tonnes of expired frozen meat and papaya in 2010, which it stored in another facility, and two batches of them were sold in Suzhou to make fruit juice and jams.
An earlier report claimed that expired products from US and European countries were also finding their way into the country's food chain.
Between January and June, Customs departments investigated more than 140 cases involving the smuggling of frozen meat, an increase of 1.3 times compared to 2014, and confiscated 420,000 tonnes of products, a rise of 2.7 times compared to the same year.
The low cost of storage has resulted in rampant smuggling of frozen meat into China.