24 April 2012
State media in China say police have seized seventy-seven million drug capsules on suspicion that they were made from industrial waste. They say eighty production lines have been closed and many people arrested.
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The mass confiscations of suspect capsules show the authorities' determination to be seen to be acting promptly after the scandal was uncovered a week ago.
Chinese television reported then that several companies were making drug capsules from industrial gelatin, containing potentially toxic levels of chromium and retrieved from discarded scraps of leather.
The safety of food and drugs is a constant public worry in China, with frequent outcries over fake medicines and substandard products. Government investigators have now been sent to Zhejiang, Hebei and Jiangxi provinces; state media said large amounts of industrial gelatin were confiscated there and in the province of Shandong.
Among those detained are a local official and a sales manager from Hebei, who are suspected of ordering a factory to be burned down to destroy the evidence.
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forced removals, seizures
at once, speedily
thick jelly mixture usually made from animal tissue
rejected, disposed of
- frequent outcries
repeated expressions of public anger
- burned down
destroyed with fire