Beijing: Twenty two people were sentenced to up to eight years in prison for making and selling more than 5,000 kilogrammes of tainted dog meat in China's Jiangsu Province.
Prosecutors in Rugao city have investigated 14 cases regarding tainted food, which involved over 5,000 kilogrammes of poisoned dog meat, 11,000 poisoned birds and 500 kilogrammes of hazardous chemicals.
Police detained Lao Gan (pseudonym) who purchased 7,000 kilogrammes of poisoned dog meat before tracking down another five people.
They also bought half of the meat and sold it to restaurants in the outskirts of cities in Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, state-run Global Times reported.
Local police also caught eight men for killing and selling over 11,000 "poisoned birds", most of which were sold to restaurants in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.
The sentences came as China faced criticism both at home and abroad for not banning annual dog meat festival in Yulin last week where 10,000 dogs were reported to have been slaughtered.
Any tainted meat should be kept away from people's tables to ensure food safety, but there are some loopholes in the supervision of the origins of the food served in some restaurants, said Fan Zhihong, a professor at the School of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering at China Agricultural University.
The People's Procuratorate of Rugao also said that it is difficult for authorities to identify tainted meat cases because food safety supervision bureaus usually only perform small spot checks on restaurants and few consumers are willing to file reports.
Fan said that unlike pork, beef and mutton, which typically come from large-scale farming, most dog meat comes from unknown sources, and ill-intentioned people may inject chemicals into the meat to preserve it during transportation.
According to Sichuan-based Boai Animal Protection Center, China's lack of strict quarantine and inspection of the dog meat production chain contributes to many consumers' refusal to eat dog meat.