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Non-guilty pleas in tainted pork case

THREE defendants pleaded not guilty yesterday in a food contamination case in southern China in which 70 people were made unwell.

Facing the charge of selling toxic and harmful food, Deng Yungao, Liu Xunyao and Xiao Xueqing pleaded not guilty because of their ignorance yesterday morning in the courtroom of Baiyun District People's Court in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, Yangcheng Evening News reported yesterday.

The three were accused of selling pigs fed with clenbuterol, a banned chemical used to make pigs develop more muscle and less fat.

The report said Deng rented a stand at a market that sold live pigs in Baiyun District from October last year. Liu and Xiao were hired to work at the stand while Deng sold live pigs outside the market. Police raided the stand in the early hours of January 22 and seized 31 contaminated pigs.

Deng told the court he didn't know the pigs from central China's Hunan Province had been fed with clenbuterol and said they all passed the tests by both Guangzhou and Hunan authorities.

Deng told the court he didn't understand the difference between a normal pig and a pig fed with clenbuterol, though he had sold pigs for years.

However, prosecutors said Deng had confessed several times that he could tell which pigs had been fed the chemical just by looking at them.

The court is expected to issue the ruling in the near future.

Guangzhou authority arrested 15 people connected with the scandal after clenbuterol-tainted pork was sold at a local market. The tainted pork made 70 people sick from February 18.


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