Almost 300 people who violated Chinese food safety laws were handed sentences including life imprisonment and the death penalty in 2011, according to a Chinese news agency.
Around 290 individuals, who were involved in more than 5,200 food safety cases, were punished in 2011, according to figures published by China Daily.
More than 5,000 business involved in food safety crimes were also closed and administrative punishments were handed to government officials for misconduct in relation to the cases.
China’s food safety standards are in urgent need of improvement, Chinese health minister Chen Zhu told the Xinhua news agency.
A recent report found that over half of all food processing and packaging inspections in mainland China failed, with ‘major’ defects including faecal contamination accounting for around 10% of those that failed.
The AsiaInspection report called the results “alarming.”