by Rathi Manohar on  June 14, 2010 at 7:36 PM Medico Legal News
Top Official Under Scrutiny Over Food and Drug Safety Issues in China
Corruption in food and drug safety issues in China continue to hound as a top official comes under scrutiny three years after a former head was executed for the crime.

Zhang Jingli, deputy chief of China's State Food and Drug Administration, is being investigated for "suspected serious disciplinary violations," the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Zhang, 55, has been removed from the post he took up in 2003, the report said, citing a Communist Party body tasked with rooting out corruption among party officials. No other details were provided.

In 2007, former SFDA head Zheng Xiaoyu was executed for accepting 850,000 dollars in bribes in exchange for granting approvals for hundreds of medicines, some of which were later found to be dangerous.

The case caused huge concern in China and triggered governmental pledges to improve supervision of the country's food and drug industries, but huge safety scandals have nevertheless erupted since then.

In 2008, at least six babies died and 300,000 others were sickened when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been added to milk supplies to make them appear higher in protein content.

In March this year, allegations that four children died and 70 others fell ill in the northern province of Shanxi after receiving vaccines sparked public fears, although authorities denied the shots had caused the deaths.

China's top leaders have repeatedly said corruption threatens the Communist Party's ability to rule.

Officials at the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection were not immediately available for comment about Zhang's case.

Source: AFP

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