Since January 25, police have seized more than 20,000 tonnes of illegal meat products and uncovered 382 alleged cases, according to a ministry statement. Following the completion of the 90-day sting, the police will now turn their attention to crimes involving dairy products.
Other meat crimes included the production of water-injected meat, the illicit use of chemicals and the sale of diseased meat.
Meanwhile, recent reports in Japan referencing a Chinese newspaper story from January have drawn increased concern in Japan over imports of potentially diseased meat from its neighbour.
The earlier article, in the Beijing Youth Daily, lifted the lid on the allegedly common practice of using chicken meat from birds that had died of disease prior to processing. The Chinese story claimed the practice had been taking place for some time and named fast food retailers KFC and McDonalds as among the recipients of such meat.
Specifically probing Henan Doyoo, a meat processor in Henan province, a follow-up story in the Japanese daily, Sankei News, went on to suggest that the plant had sold some of its meat to McDonald’s outlets in Japan. Each year, several hundred tonnes of Chinese chicken meat is carried across the Sea of Japan.
Sankei’s investigation also made reference to China’s poultry industry using large amounts of growth hormones and antibiotics on birds, which it suggests are often kept in inhumane conditions that are crowded and devoid of light.
Responding to concerns in April, McDonald’s Japan issued a bland statement and acknowledged that the Henan processor was part of its supply network. The chain, however, claimed that supplies from this source had stopped in December 2012.
However a report last week, by Shuuji Okuno in the Japanese weekly Shukan Bunsho—which began with the question “Would you still be willing to put a chicken nugget in your mouth if you knew the real story?”—has reopened concern about the quality of imports.