Supermarkets across China were busy recalling meat products over the weekend and removing items from the shelves following the discovery of a banned feed additive found in pork produced by an affiliate of the country's largest meat processor.
Meat products branded as Shineway in English that were processed by the Henan-based Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co Ltd were found last week to contain clenbuterol, a chemical that is dangerous to humans.
The producer is an affiliate of the market-leading Shuanghui Group.
The recall began on Thursday when Shuanghui Group ordered its branches to recall all meat products processed by its Jiyuan affiliate.
"It (the recall) does not mean all products produced by Jiyuan Shuanghui are substandard. The move is being done to reassure the public," Du Junfu, Party chief of Shuanghui Group, was quoted as saying by Xinhua on Saturday.
By Saturday, more than 2,000 tons of meat products and 70 tons of fresh meat had been recalled, the company said.
But it did not revealed the total amount of the products that needed to be recalled.
The story broke when China Central Television (CCTV) revealed last Tuesday that Jiyuan Shuanghui had purchased pigs that had been fed with the illegal additive clenbuterol. The feed additive causes the animals to develop more muscle and less fat and makes them more valuable. However, pigs fed with the additive produce pork that can be harmful to humans.
After the scandal broke on CCTV, the provincial authorities in Henan conducted urine tests on 1,512 pigs at nine pig farms. It said 158 pigs tested positive.
In addition, 271 kilograms of feed in the province that was found to contain the additive was destroyed on Saturday.
Three senior officials from the animal husbandry bureaus in the province were suspended from duty in the aftermath of the revelations, said Liu Xuezhou, chief of Henan department of health. Another 27 officials in the province were in police custody or had been sacked or suspended, he said.