More than 40 tons of fake mutton and beef rolls - made from duck and laced with banned additives containing large amounts of carcinogens - have been seized in a police raid on a factory in northeastern Liaoning Province.
Police nabbed 34 suspects, shut three production lines and confiscated the fake products and 250 kilograms of illegal additives worth 30 million yuan (US$4.82 million). It was the biggest such case uncovered in the province in recent years, the Beijing Times said yesterday.
Police found the factory, owned by a man surnamed Li, processed duck meat with binding and water-retaining agents, dyes and waste suet to make fake mutton and beef rolls.
Yao Guoliang, a squad leader for drug- and food-related crimes, said Li artificially boosted the weight of the meat as well as cut costs through other illegal processing methods.
Mutton rolls normally are priced at 10 to 15 yuan per kilogram, but Li sold fake ones at no more than 5 yuan.
The tainted meat was found to contain excessive levels of nitrite - commonly used in curing meat - at over 2,000 times the national standard. The additives made the meat look fresh and smell like the real thing, but can cause cancer and birth defects at high levels.
Police said they also retrieved almost all of the fake products, nearly 1,000 kilograms, that the factory had sold to local restaurants and frozen food wholesalers in Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces, the report showed.
Some restaurants also will be punished for knowingly serving the fake products.
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