Diseased Pork Gluts Guangzhou Market

January 17, 2009 Updated: January 17, 2009

Recently, Chinese police broke up a syndicate in Guangzhou City that was selling pork from diseased pigs processed with a highly toxic pesticide. Allegedly, their operation introduced several tons of tainted pork into the market every day for a year and a half.

The bad pork operation was uncovered first by reporters in China, based on tips from locals.

According to a report by the New Express Daily on Jan. 1, a villager, Aqiang, from a village roughly 100 kilometers away from Guangzhou, claimed in early December that there was an illegal slaughterhouse processing diseased pigs and selling the meat. He said that the shop would sell up to three tons of meat a day.

After this information surfaced, several reporters in Guangzhou area started to investigate private slaughterhouses and meat traders, at a significant personal risk.

On Dec. 10, 2008, a strong stench led a reporter to a heap of rotting pigskins in a cold storage warehouse in Guangzhou. When the reporter inquired about pork prices with the owner of the warehouse, he was suspiciously rebuffed by a man with the surname He, who told me, “We do not sell any meat here.”

Apparently, the problems with the pork went beyond merely coming from diseased animals. On the scene, an unidentified liquid with a strong chemical smell, similar to that of DDT, was found. It was being used to soak the pork with, in order to remove the stinking smell of rotten meat. Maggots were also spotted in some pork trotters.

Some of the pork came from pigs that had apparently died of foot and mouth disease and ear disease, according to Chinese officials. Pigs infected with these illnesses are normally culled in order to keep the disease from spreading.

Four tons of pork (about from forty three diseased pigs), six thousand pigskins, and two vehicles were seized at the slaughterhouse. Eight suspects were also arrested, two of them were brothers.

It was learned that the group could buy a diseased pig at 50 to 200 yuan (US$7- 29). After processing the animals, they would sell the meat for up to 1600 to 2500 yuan ($234-366).

Most of the spoiled pork was sold to small restaurants, street vendors, canteens or even meat packaging factories. Meat dealers and restaurateurs often prefer to buy this meat because of its cheap price.

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