The suspects slaughtered up to 100 sheep per day at an
illegal warehouse, pumping bacteria-ridden water into the meat
before it was sold at markets, food stalls and restaurants in
major cities such as Guangzhou and Foshan, China Central
Television (CCTV) said in a three-minute report.
China has been hit by a number of food safety scandals, from
deadly chemical-laced dairy products to recycled "gutter oil"
used for cooking.
Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer,
apologized after a Chinese supplier of donkey meat snacks was
found to have mixed fox meat into the product.
Authorities raided the illegal lamb meat abattoir in Guangdong
at the end of December, finding around 30 carcasses injected
with water, 335 live sheep, forged inspection stamps, and
equipment to inject water into the meat, the report showed.
Each sheep was pumped with up to six kilograms of water just
after being slaughtered, to add extra weight.
Close to 40 percent of Chinese think food safety is a "very big
problem," the Pew Research Centre said in a 2013 report. This
has weighed on Chinese firms, from milk powder makers to meat
producers, boosting international rivals.
Late in December, China said it would tighten milk powder rules
in a move to boost confidence in domestic producers and allay
long-standing fears around food safety in its $12.4 billion
infant formula market.
KFC parent Yum Brands Inc, McDonald's Corp, French grocery chain
Carrefour SA and other global firms have been caught up in food
safety scares in China.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Shanghai newsroom;
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