In a major demonstration of its commitment to the safety and quality of food made in China, the country's regulators have cracked down on law-breaching businesses and people in the food industry.
According to a statement issued by the Food Safety Commission of China, which comes under the State Council, approximately 2,000 suspects have been arrested and more than 4,900 businesses were shut down beginning this April.
The statement revealed that the crackdown was a coordinated effort between agricultural, industrial, commercial, quality control and food authorities on food or additives manufacturers and catering businesses. The campaign is a nation wide one, and as of the end of last week had seen the authorities inspecting more that 5.90 million businesses in the country involved in the food industry.
In addition, local police departments have under the campaign investigated about 1,200 criminal cases concerning the illegal addition of non-edible materials in food products. Local authorities, in conjunction with law enforcement authorities, also destroyed a series of underground sites for illegal production, storage and processing of food products.
China has had a recent history checkered with food incidents that have maligned its image both domestically and overseas as a major producer of food products and additives. Most infamously, six children died and more than 300,000 children fell ill in 2008 from drinking powdered milk laced with melamine, an industrial compound added falsely show high results in protein content tests.
As recent as last month, a court handed out long sentences, including a suspended death penalty, to five people involved in producing and selling pork tainted with a poisonous chemical. Also in April this year, 426 of the China's 1,176 dairies were ordered by regulators to stop production as part of efforts to clean up the industry.