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September 23, 2013

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Food company facilities shut over safety hazards in Shanghai

Huasang Food Co’s refrigeration facilities were closed and sealed off earlier this month due to potential safety risks, Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau officials said yesterday.

Officials from the city’s quality watchdog said the move was made after inspections were beefed up in the wake of the deadly liquid ammonia leak that occurred in a factory at Shanghai Weng’s Cold Storage Industrial Co Ltd on August 31 in Baoshan District. The leak killed 15 people and injured 25 others.

Huasang will only be allowed to resume operations at its refrigeration facilities after it resolves all irregularities and eliminates safety risks, officials said.

The company was found using pressurized liquid ammonia pipelines without a license.

The company’s food refrigeration units that used liquid ammonia were shut down on September 4.

The city’s quality watchdog is conducting stricter inspections and handing out tougher penalties due to the Baoshan incident.

Shen Weimin, deputy director of the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau, said companies found flouting regulations will be shut down until they make the necessary changes. He added companies would be shut down permanently if they fail to comply with changes requested by authorities.

Efforts have also been made to crack down on illegal production and eliminate the safety risks of special equipment such as liquid ammonia refrigeration units, Shen said.

The liquid ammonia leak in a factory at Shanghai Weng’s Cold Storage caused a direct economic loss of 25.1 million yuan (US$4.1 million).

Authorities said previously a detached pipe cap had led to the leakage.



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