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March 1, 2013

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4 get jail over swill oil use in food

TWO Shanghai restaurant owners were sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined 200,000 yuan (US$32,000) each for using swill oil in food, the Huangpu District Court ruled yesterday. Two workers also got jail terms.

It was the first time that a local court rendered a criminal verdict on swill oil cases.

Zheng Pin, the 38-year-old owner of Fula Hotpot Restaurant on Yandang Road downtown, was punished for recycling oil from leftover hotpot meals. His nephew, a cook, was jailed for one year and fined 2,000 yuan for making new soup with recycled oil between June and July at Zheng's request. Zheng and her nephew pleaded guilty after seeing a video of their activity.

In a separate case, Yu Zhengjiang, who operated the Zhengjiang Sichuan Restaurant in Huangpu District, used recycled oil to make dishes such as roasted fish.

Yang Caiyou, an employee of Yu's, was given a 15-month jail term and fined 2,000 yuan for illegal reuse of waste oil.

The court said the verdicts were rendered based on regulations against producing and selling poisonous or harmful food to consumers.

Under the Chinese Criminal Law, those who produce or sell such food can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, in addition to fines. If there is serious harm to people's health, those standing trial can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Authorities busted the two eateries after receiving tips.

A new regulation designed to cut the use of swill oil goes into effect today. It requires restaurants and food producers to sell used kitchen oil to licensed collectors. The regulation states that any individual or company illegally involved in collecting or processing used kitchen oil will face administrative fines up to 100,000 yuan, up from 30,000 yuan. Those involved in serious cases may face criminal charges, according to the regulations.

Last year, local courts delivered verdicts on 16 cases related to food safety. They included producing and selling pork from ill and dead pigs and tainted bean sprouts.


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