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Food Safety Chief Executed for Bribery in China

had no nutritional value.

In August last year about 40 people in Beijing contract meningitis after eating partially cooked snails at a chain of restaurants.

Three months later 5,000 ducks had to be culled after it was found that farmers fed some dye to the birds in order to make their eggs look fresher and the dye contained cancer-causing properties.

In March this year there was a huge scare over melamine found in the wheat gluten imports from China. The gluten is used in the manufacture of pet food. The scare resulted in recall of around 100 brands.

Subsequently there was this report of contamination of toothpaste shipped to Central America. China did rebut some of the criticism and said it was all a cloak for protectionism.

As its reputation was getting a battering in the western media, the government of the Peoples Republic of China has executed Zheng Xiaoyu, a former head of the countrys Food and Drug Administration.

He was convicted of taking 6.5m yuan ($850,000; 425,400) in bribes and of dereliction of duty at a trial in May.

The bribes were linked to sub-standard medicines which had led to several deaths.

China has been criticised over a number of recent cases involving tainted goods, and correspondents say Zheng had become a symbol of the crisis.

Zheng had appealed against his sentence, arguing that it was "too severe" and saying he had confessed his crimes and co-operated with police.

But his appeal, heard in mid-June, was rejected shortly afterwards.

Following Zheng's sacking in 2005, the Chinese government announced an urgent review of about 170,000 medical licenses that were awarded during his tenure at the agency.

At a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday the State Food and Drug agency said that its supervision of safety was unsatisfactory, and it
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