BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police have detained 53 suspects and closed 10 industrial gelatin and gel capsule factories believed to have been involved in producing contaminated medicine capsules.
Police have also confiscated more than 230 tonnes of industrial gelatin in Hebei, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Shandong provinces since the scandal was exposed on Sunday, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.
Huang Ming, deputy minister of public security, urged local bureaus at all levels to pay greater attention and crack down on illegal conduct that may pose a threat to food and drug safety.
The ministry will work with relevant departments to investigate gelatin-related food and drug producers, the ministry said, adding that tips from the public are welcome and encouraged.
Factories will be shut down and dealt with in accordance with the law if they are found to be using industrial gelatin in the manufacture of drug or food products, the ministry said.
Production licenses for three gel capsule producers in Zhejiang province have been revoked by authorities in relation to the scandal, according to a statement issued by the State Food and Drug Administration.
China Central Television revealed on Sunday that several companies have been manufacturing drug capsules with industrial gelatin, which contains a greater amount of chromium than edible gelatin and can be toxic if ingested in excessive amounts.
The report also showed that the industrial gelatin used to manufacture the capsules was made from scraps of leather material.