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Life Sentence Verdict for Dumpling Poisoning

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A Chinese court in Shijiazhuang has sentenced former factory worker Lu Yueting to life imprisonment for maliciously injecting methamidophos into dumplings at a Tianyang Food processing plant in Hebei six years ago. Much of the facility’s output was exported to Japan, where at least nine people were sickened from ingesting the pesticide. The tainted products were also sold domestically in Chengdu, where four people fell ill after consuming them.

The Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court found 39-year-old Lu guilty of using a syringe to inject the toxic pesticide into dumplings stored in the plant’s refrigerated warehouse on at least three occasions between October and December of 2007. A dispute with management over wages led him to commit crime, according to the court.

Millions of bags of frozen dumplings imported from China were removed from shelves and freezer cases in supermarkets and grocery stores in Japan during the summer of 2008, as concerns over food safety became widespread in that country. Interestingly, the verdict in Shijiazhuang comes at a time when millions more packs of frozen foodstuffs are being recalled in Japan, on this occasion due to a scare over products apparently tainted with an organic phosphate insecticide at a Japanese factory northwest of Tokyo.