Tainan prosecutes 79 more over sale of meat injected with water to the military

TAIWAN - The Tainan District Prosecutors Office prosecuted another 79 people yesterday over the sale of water-injected meat to the military following legal action taken against 14 offenders in June.

Tainan prosecutors cracked the water-injected meat scandal this April and prosecuted 14 people including two officers, three civil servants and nine staff from the food manufacturer as well as suppliers.

The new list of defendants includes one retired civil servant, eight Army servicemen, 14 Navy personnel, 15 Air Force staff and 41 employees of food suppliers.

According to prosecutors, there may have been over 240,000 kilograms of water-injected meat sold to the military. In addition, the relative members of the military took more than NT$1.3 million in this case.

Last year, the prosecutors received a report that some local meat suppliers injected water into their meat after using Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP), a kind of polymer that can absorb and retain liquid, to enhance the meat's weight, and sold the tainted products to the military and civilians.

In addition, not only did they sell the tainted meat, but they also bribed members of the military in a bid to avoid investigation, according to the prosecutors.

The Food and Drug Administration pointed out that although SAPs are allowed to be used in some food products like meatballs to maintain the texture and form, it is not allowed to always be directly injected into meat.

Doctors also warned that excessive amounts of SAPs may lead to coronary artery heart disease, vascular calcification, osteoporosis and even cancer.