A Chinese court has sentenced five people from a feed premix company in Fujian province, that were arrested and charged with supplying clenbuterol. One received a suspended death penalty.
The Intermediate People's Court of Jiaozuo, in Henan province, found the defendants guilty of "endangering public security by using dangerous means". The five people who received sentences by the Chinese court are clenbuterol producer, Liu Xiang, who was handed a death sentence with a two-year reprieve. His wife, Liu Honglin, who was found to be an accomplice, was sentenced to nine years for buying raw materials he used in making the pig feed additive. Xi Zhongjie was sentenced to life in prison. Xiao Bing to 15 years and Chen Yuwei to 14 years.
If was found that the accused produced and sold lean meat powder despite it being harmful. The accused distributed the substance in Henan, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces and five other provincial regions.
Liu Xiang and Xi produced and sold 2,700 kilogrammes of the additive, making profit of 2.5 million yuan ($387,000); Chen Yuwei, Zhengzhou-based, capital of Henan province, sold more than 600 kilogrammes, with a profit of 700,000 yuan; and that Xiao Bing, based in Luoyang, Henan, sold 1,300 kilogrammes,making over 600,000 yuan.
The accused stated that there were no reports in which consumers got ill as a result of eating clenbuterol-tainted meat.
Clenbuterol, an additive known as "lean meat powder", is used in pig feed to speed up muscle building and fat-burning, resulting in leaner pork.
However, humans eating food containing clenbuterol can suffer nausea, headaches, limb tremors and can even cause cancer.
Banned in feed and water
The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture banned the use of Phenylethanolamine A in feed or animal drinking water at the end of last year.
It also announced in April that it will cooperate with eight ministries and commissions to launch a one-year crackdown on toxic additives.
In a separate case, police in Sichuan province on July 3 cracked a case involving the sale of 12,399 kilograms of clenbuterol. The haul was valued at 15.8 million yuan ($2.45 million), the biggest so far.