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Local checks set for water-shot beef

SHANGHAI industrial and commercial authorities plan to launch a widespread inspection of farm-product wholesale markets to stop the sale of waterlogged beef, officials said yesterday.

Local concern was raised after consumers complained that beef whose weight had been artificially inflated by water had been sold at the Shanghai Southwest Agriculture Trade Market.

A shopper named Zhu Liangshun said he bought 500 grams of rump steak over the weekend and found that the beef appeared to be injected with water. He reported his complaint to the Minhang District branch of the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.

After investigation, the bureau confiscated about 5 kilograms of unsold beef from the vender.

Authorities said they determined that the beef came from Jiashan, in Shanghai's neighboring Zhejiang Province.

The municipal bureau said it will carry out a citywide inspection in the near future.

"We believe there is still some water-injected beef in the local market," said Weng Yuwen, a bureau official.

Venders selling the adulterated meat will be fined and evicted from the market, officials said.

The Cao'an Agricultural Products Wholesale Market, another of the city's main wholesale markets, said it stopped selling beef from Jiashan before the Spring Festival, as an inspection found it contained high levels of water.

The water content in beef should be no more than 77 percent according to regulations, but the figure for several batches of beef from Jiashan was as high as 79 percent, market officials said.

The bureau reminded consumers that water-injected beef may look fresher than normal meat but that water will ooze out when the beef is touched.

The Jiading Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau earlier found an illegal beef processing operation in the area.

Meat injected with water is ruining people's health, and a lack of government oversight has allowed the practice to flourish for 24 years, a Chinese political adviser charged last week.

Feng Ping, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and an expert from the China Meat Research Center, proposed the establishment of a new monitoring system to safeguard meat production, Nanfang Weekly reported earlier.

Feng's proposal was submitted to the annual session of the CPPCC, which ended last Thursday.

The injection of water into livestock to increase its sales weight has become a widespread practice across the country, the newspaper reported.

Meat processors that add water to raise the weight of livestock might also add antiseptics and other chemicals, and watered meat is more prone to spoilage and the spread of disease, the report said.

Some of the added water may even contain industrial waste.


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