CHINA – Food inspectors in north China have discovered that a city-backed pork products plant was injecting pigs with water to illegally increase their weight.
Investigators who were tipped off to the practice raided the Xixinyuan slaughterhouse in Tianjin’s Xiqing District last Friday, according to Chinese media reports.
Three officials had to struggle to enter a pig farm that was part of the production facility, pushing to open an iron door as workers on the other side tried to hold them back.
Once they forced their way inside, inspectors found iron hooks, plastic water pipes, barrels, bloody knives and several bottles of unidentified liquid. The items were clearly used for water injection, the officials said.
Inspectors told reporters that pigs awaiting slaughter should not be allowed to eat or drink. Factory chief Yi Shunpu reportedly said he was unaware that the pigs were being improperly bulked up.
The facility slaughters more than 400 pigs a day to provide pork to Tianjin’s Nankai District and neighbouring provinces. It is one of Tianjin’s 36 government-designated slaughterhouses charged with producing quality pork.
But it was the third so far to be caught forcing water into pigs. The other two have had their licenses revoked.
ShanghaiDaily.com reports that it was not clear what action would be taken against the latest offender.
Each slaughterhouse has a government inspector, but he or she is in charge only of looking out for pork from diseased pigs and doesn’t have authority over water-injected meat, officials told reporters.
China’s annual Yulin festival, in which thousands of dogs and cats will be murdered and eaten, has begun despite widespread international condemnation.
An estimated 10,000 dogs and cats are expected to be used for meat during the 10 days of the festival, which takes place at Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in the south-east of the country.
Campaigners say the practice is cruel and a petition has amassed 2.5 million signatures calling for it to be banned, but local government officials say it is organised by private businesses and they are unable to prevent it.