'Diseased Pork' Being Sold in Some Regions

CHINA - The State Administration of Industry and Commerce on Tuesday night (9 February) issued an urgent notice to inform consumers and local law enforcement officers that "diseased pork" is being sold in some regions of the country.
calendar icon 11 February 2010
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"Some of the sick pigs were slaughtered earlier than scheduled," the notice said.

"The pork has entered the market and poses a danger to consumers' health."

The administration urged local law enforcement officers to inspect all purchases, ask for safety certificates for the pork and to make purchase and sales ledgers.

Problematic pork should be seized and destroyed, the announcement said.

Consumers are encouraged to call 12315 if they find any problematic pork in the market.

"We issued the notice to ensure a safe pork supply during the coming Spring Festival, which falls this weekend," Cai Jun, director of the publicity department of the administration, told China Daily over the phone.

"Last month, due to the severe cold, diseases spread among pigs in several parts of the country," he said.

However, neither the notice nor Mr Cai disclosed specific places where the diseased pork was found or the type of diseases that were detected.

The Ministry of Agriculture refused to comment on the issue.

However, posts on an online forum at www.liaozhu.com, a website for pig farmers and pork dealers, revealed that diseases among pigs were detected in Jilin, Gansu and Shandong provinces.

"Diseased pork in the market might hurt rural consumers far more than their urban counterparts," said Cheng Guoshun, executive director of the Chinese Farmers Research Center at the Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University.

"Since food inspections in the urban areas are relatively stricter, illegal purchases are less likely to occur," Mr Cheng said.

"There is usually a big market for pork before the Spring Festival and these safety issues could hurt sales," he added.

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