China arrested two people for selling more than 35,000 kilograms of horse meat as beef, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today.
The suspects, two brothers, had operated in a county in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi and began passing off horse as beef because the profit from beef sales was low, according to Xinhua. They collected more than 1.28 million yuan ($209,000) in sales, according to the report. Another accomplice remains at large, Xinhua reported, without citing anyone.
The incident is the latest in a series of food safety violations that have come to light as Premier Li Keqiang seeks to ease public outrage sparked by cases including tainted milk powder and chemicals in liquor. China’s central government called on local authorities to tighten scrutiny of meat production and sales in May after police busted a ring that sold fox and mink meat as mutton.
Earlier this year, companies including Nestle SA and Ikea Group pulled products in Europe after tests found horse meat in beef products. The European Union ordered testing across the region, while South Africa, spurred by the discoveries, began investigating how unlabeled donkey, goat and water buffalo got into supermarket products.