Shanghai fished another 809 dead pigs out of its main waterway on Friday, bringing the total carcasses found this week to 8,300 in a scandal that has spotlighted China’s troubles with food safety.
The swine effluent discovered flowing down the Huangpu river — which supplies a fifth of the commercial hub’s drinking water — has added the country’s most popular meat to a growing list of food items rocked by scandal.
“As of 3:00 pm today, another 809 floating dead pigs have been fished out,” Shanghai authorities said on their Weibo account, a service similar to Twitter.
It gave assurances that authorities had not found any substandard pork products on the market and were closely monitoring water quality.
Shanghai has blamed farmers in neighbouring Zhejiang province for casting pigs thought to have died of disease into the river upstream, although officials from the area have admitted to only a single producer doing so.
Pork accounted for 64 percent of total meat output last year, and China’s increasingly wealthy urban residents consumed 21 kilograms (45 pounds) of the meat per person in 2011.
Despite laws against the practice, animals that die from disease in China can end up in the food supply chain or improperly disposed of.
China faced one its biggest food-safety scandals in 2008 when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products, killing at least six babies and making 300,000 people ill.
Cheap recycled cooking oil is available nationwide, made illegally from leftovers scooped out of restaurant drains. Amid public disgust, authorities arrested more than 30 people over its sale, but the practise continues.
In another recent incident, the American fast-food giant KFC faced controversy after revealing that some Chinese suppliers provided chicken with high levels of antibiotics, in what appeared to be an industry-wide practice.