The State Council met for the second time in a week yesterday, vowing harsher punishment for producers of fake meat while highlighting the challenges facing the agricultural sector, which it described as a "key safeguard" to stabilise the economy and keep inflation in check.
In a statement after the meeting, it said it would increase financial support for major producers to boost beef and mutton supplies.
Police revealed over the weekend that a Jiangsu gang was caught passing off rat, fox and mink meat as mutton to wet markets in Shanghai, Jiangsu and neighbouring provinces between 2009 and this February. Ten tonnes of raw meat was seized.
Yesterday's meeting identified difficulties faced by the agricultural sector. Floods in the northeast, the country's farming heartland, and droughts in the northwest and southwest would hurt output, Xinhua reported, while falling pig prices, tight supplies of beef and mutton, and the H7N9 bird flu virus would also weaken the industry.
The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit Yaan , Sichuan , last month also dealt a blow to regional agricultural production as the province is the biggest pig-raising centre.
"To cope with these challenges, efforts must be made to ensure stable supply and prices," a State Council release said.
Inflation data for April is due out today, with analysts expecting price growth of between 2.2 and 2.3 per cent over last year.