According to an IHT article, Mao Lijun, head and General Manager of the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company, has been detained by the Chinese authorities for his possible link with the contaminated wheat gluten. This marks the first arrest related to this case in all involved countries.
More after the jump.
(Thanks Mike and Patty L.)
SHANGHAI, May 3 â€” The general manager of one of the companies accused of selling contaminated wheat gluten to pet food suppliers in the United States has been detained by the Chinese authorities, according to police officials here and a person who was briefed on the investigation.
Mao Lijun, head of the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company, is being held in coastal Jiangsu Province, about 320 miles northwest of Shanghai, though a police spokesman in Pei County declined to say on what charges.
In a telephone interview a few weeks ago, Mr. Mao denied any knowledge of how melamine, an industrial chemical, had adulterated pet food supplies sold under his company label earlier this year. He also insisted that his company had never exported any wheat gluten and that his products were only sold in the domestic market.
But regulators in the United States identified Xuzhou Anying and another Chinese company in nearby Shandong Province as the only sources of the contaminated ingredients that led to one of the biggest pet food recalls in American history.
The arrest of Mr. Mao may be an indication that the Chinese government is stepping up its own investigation into the scandal and also trying to show its willingness to cooperate with Food and Drug Administration investigators who arrived in China on Monday.