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China Arrests Alleged Culprit in Pet Food Case

Posted May 3, 2007 3:22 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The general manager of a Chinese company whose contaminated wheat gluten allegedly ended up sickening thousands of pets in the U.S. and South Africa has been arrested on undisclosed charges.

Mao Lijun denied in an interview several weeks ago that his company's product ended up in the pet food that poisoned dogs and cats throughout the U.S. and killed at least 16, according to the New York Times. But after initially denying that Chinese food exports had caused the epidemic of pet food poisonings the Chinese government last Friday banned the use of melamine in vegetable proteins made for food purposes. Melamine, which had been thought not to be highly toxic, has been identified as the culprit in the pet food debacle.

Lijun's detention apparently followed, although the Times does not give a date. The article says a police spokesman declined to specify the charges on which Lijun is being held.

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