Diseased meat seized in Guangdong

Guangdong's police force and the provincial food and drug supervisor are stepping up efforts to crack down on food safety crimes, especially those related to unsafe meat and illegal food additives.

During a special action targeting unsafe meat from April to September, 230 criminal cases were solved and 378 suspects were arrested, more than doubling the numbers last year in both categories, according to Peng Hui, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department.

Crashing 155 locations, officers seized more than 60 tons of diseased dead pigs, more than 250 tons of unsafe meat and meat products and 425 tons of frozen meat of unknown origin - possibly smuggled.

"The special action has effectively contained the crimes of producing and selling unsafe meat and meat products. But we need to continue the fight, otherwise the big threat to public health will rise again," Peng said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Tuesday.

A special action targeting at illegal food additives was launched in October and will last until March, he added.

President Xi Jinping demanded strengthened supervision on food and drug safety at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in May, raising the "four strictest" benchmark for food safety - strictest standards, strictest supervision, strictest punishment and strictest accountability.

Su Shengfeng, chief inspector at the Guangdong Food and Drug Administration, said the battle against food safety crimes is a prolonged one and asked for more tipoffs from the public.

"People with poor awareness of the law are lured by huge profits to produce, smuggle and sell foods that are of shoddy quality or even pose threats to public health, which is why it is difficult to eradicate food safety crimes," Su said at the news conference. "Besides the special crackdowns as deterrents, we increase the cost of breaking the law by putting offenders on a black list and exposing them to the public."

Su added that the government plans to increase rewards for public tipoffs, as it is difficult to rely solely on officers to detect the secret locations - usually concealed on the urban fringe in secluded rental housing - where unsafe foods are processed.