BEIJING, Sept 4 Chinese police have arrested 11
people on suspicion of making and selling some 90 million
cancer-causing capsule casings in the eastern province of
Zhejiang, state media reported on Thursday.
The casings were made with an industrial gelatin that
contained high amounts of the metal chromium, the official China
Daily newspaper said, adding the group was detained at a
workshop last month.
Police are still investigating where the casings were sold.
State media did not report any cases of illness caused by the
The group was led by a 56-year-old man named Pan Bohai, the
China Daily said. Pan, who had previously worked at a
now-bankrupt pharmaceutical firm that also produced empty
capsules, gathered 10 friends to start his own business, the
The company had been producing the capsules since February,
the paper said.
Chinese consumers have become increasingly wary about fake
food and pharmaceuticals in the wake of a series of scandals,
from re-used "gutter oil" in cooking to cadmium-tainted rice.
The latest scandal mirrors a 2012 incident in which
authorities launched investigations into 43 companies for
producing chromium-tainted capsules, according to state media
Capsule makers sometimes cut corners by using cheaper
industrial gelatin, made with unsafe amounts of the metal
chromium, instead of the pricier gelatin made for human
Authorities last week seized more than 30,000 tonnes of
chicken feet, common on restaurant menus, after it was
discovered excess hydrogen peroxide was added to the meat.
Police detained 38 people involved in the case after raiding
nine supplier factories.
In 2008, infant formula tainted by the industrial chemical
melamine caused the illness of hundreds of thousands of infants
and killed at least six.
(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)