China food safety

Alarm as over 150 pig carcasses found in China's Gan River

Macabre find in Yangtze tributary reminiscent of the 16,000 dead pigs found in a Shanghai's Huangpu river last year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 5:37pm

Mainland authorities have found 157 dead pigs in a river, state media said yesterday, underscoring the country's food safety problems a year after 16,000 carcasses were discovered in Shanghai's main waterway.

The dead pigs were recovered from the Gan River in Jiangxi province, which supplies drinking water to the provincial capital, Nanchang, Xinhua said.

Tests showed that the tap water remained safe for drinking, it said, citing Nanchang authorities. The Gan is a tributary of the Yangtze, one of China's main waterways.

"Another 20 pigs have been fished out of the Gan River, for a total of 157," state broadcaster CCTV said on Sina Weibo.

Ear tags on the carcasses indicated the animals came from Zhangshu , part of Yichun city in the central Chinese province, CCTV said, citing Jiangxi's agriculture department.

An official with the Yichun agriculture bureau said it was unclear where the pigs originated. Zhangshu authorities could not immediately be reached.

A year ago China was stunned by the appearance of more than 16,000 dead pigs floating along parts of the Huangpu River which flows through Shanghai - one of a series of food safety scandals in recent years.

No official explanation was given for the incident, which hugely embarrassed the commercial hub.

Last May, police detained 900 people for crimes including selling rat and fox meat as beef and mutton.

And in 2008, six babies died and 300,000 others fell ill in a massive scandal involving contaminated milk powder.

Public concern about food safety is high and in his address to China’s parliament this month Premier Li Keqiang pledged to “apply the strictest possible oversight, punishment and accountability to prevent and control food contamination and ensure that every bite of food we eat is safe”.