Jinhua Ham scam exposed

Shanghai Star. 2003-11-20

AFTER the famous Taicang Rousong (dried meat fibre) company was found using dead pig's meat to make their pork shreds, CCTV's weekly Quality Report has this week focused its attention on another famous food brand - Jinhua Ham.

Jinhua, a city in Zhejiang Province, has been famous for its ham for more than 1,200 years. Its delicious taste has even won it a good reputation abroad. But it was recently found that some ham manufacturers here were so blinded by greed that they spread dichlorvos, a pesticide, on the ham so that flies would be kept off it.

According to business insiders the temperature in winter, between 0-10 degrees centigrade, is the best season for the production of ham. In other seasons, the ham can easily go bad. But locals thought of a way to expand their production in other seasons by using the pesticide to prevent the meat deteriorating, a method quite popular with small ham producers in Jinhua, the Beijing Message and Entertainment Newspaper reported.

The illegal act of the small producers has already brought great losses to the big ham companies in Jinhua. The largest local ham producer, the only one holding "Jinhua" as its trademark, said that it had always strictly observed the proper processing schedule and hadn't done anything to besmirch its brand. But the pesticide scandal has still seriously affected the company's reputation, along with that of the greedy culprits and even government monitoring agencies, the boss was quoted as saying.

In a related development, a storehouse in Huoyan Village of Changsha in Hunan Province, contained 25 tons of Chinese dates poisoned by vendors who had smoked them with sulfur to make them look shiny, according to the latest reports.

When the Quality Inspection Bureau visited the site to seize the dates and destroy them, half the stocks were found to have already been moved to other places.

The vendor said he had returned the goods to the original seller in North China's Hebei Province. Currently some 50 to 60 businessmen in the city of Changsha are involved in the poisonous Chinese date business.

The city's inspection bureau has dispatched staff to search for the poisonous dates. People can detect poisonous ones by their colour: if they look shiny as if waxed outside, while still being white inside, they are most probably sulfur smoked dates.

Copyright by Shanghai Star.