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Food safety prosecutions up 50%

Shanghai prosecutors have charged 34 people with food safety crimes in the first half of this year as the city cracked down on crimes that directly affect residents' daily lives, the Shanghai Municipal People's Prosecutor's Office said Monday. 

Prosecutors across the city brought 50 percent more food safety cases to court compared with the same period last year, according to a press release from the Shanghai Municipal People's Prosecutor's Office. 

The rise in the number of cases shows the government has strengthened the enforcement of food safety laws due to the danger that violations pose to public health, the prosecutor's office said.

The cases involved a variety of violations, such as recycling used cooking oil and moon cake filling. 

In one case, Fengxian district prosecutors accused five people from Shanghai Panpan Food Co Ltd of mixing expired moon cake filling with the new filling that the company was producing for the seasonal holiday treat.

Local food safety inspectors received a tip from one of the company's workers on August 7, 2012. A subsequent test found that the filling failed to meet bacteria standards, according to a report in the Xinmin Evening News.

The company's owners had decided to reuse the expired filling to save money, the report said. The company had been suffering financial difficulties from poor sales. 

It ended up selling nearly 100,000 yuan ($16,309) worth of moon cakes to local supermarkets and buyers from other provinces.

The number of cases involving counterfeit and substandard goods accounted for 46.5 percent of the total number of cases that directly related to people's daily lives, the prosecutor's office said.

In the first six months, prosecutors charged 447 people in 278 cases that involved manufacturing counterfeit products with registered trademarks, manufacturing counterfeit drugs and producing other substandard products, the press release said.

Of the 91 people charged in 76 cases, 96 percent were involved with the sale of fake contraceptives and other sex-related drugs.

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