Local authorities confirmed that a battery powder-dyed mixture of discarded coffee, pebbles and ground stones recently found at a local business was mixed with pepper to increase its quantity. — Photo baogiaothong.vn
ĐẮK NÔNG — Local authorities confirmed that a battery powder-dyed mixture of discarded coffee, pebbles and ground stones recently found at a local business was mixed with pepper to increase its quantity.
The information was released on April 26 during a media briefing held by the People’s Committee of Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông, the second one since local police caught a coffee manufacturer in Đắk R’lấp District’s Đắk Wer Commune using black liquid to dye low-quality coffee grounds.
A team of local environmental police and provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agriculture - Forestry - Fishery Management Division uncovered the illegal act during a check at the farm produce trading establishment owned by Nguyễn Thị Thanh Loan between April 15 and 17, said Colonel Phạm Thanh Bình from Đắk Nông Police.
The black liquid made of water and powder extracted from dry batteries, was being used to blacken a mixture of discarded coffee beans and shells, and tiny pebbles of about 0.5-3mm in size. The mixture was then to be dried by machine before being packed for market, Bình told the press conference.
At the scene, local police and relevant authorities seized nearly 21.3 tonnes of the mixture, 40 litres of the black liquid, 35 kilos of crushed batteries; and 192 kilos of battery caps, carbon rods and zinc cases.
Based on the testimonies of offenders, gathered evidence and related documents, the Đắk Nông Investigative Police on Monday prosecuted and arrested five people involved to investigate the violations of regulations on food hygiene and safety in line with Penal Code’s Article 317, Vietnam News Agency reported.
They include the entrepreneur Nguyễn Thị Thanh Loan, born 1975; Nguyễn Xuân Bảo, 1985; Phan Thị Dung, 1962; Lê Thị Hồng Thơ, 1979; and Trần Văn Tuấn, 1976. All except Dung from southern Bình Dương Province were registered as living in Đắk Nông Province.
Loan and Bảo confessed that they produced the substandard coffee to sell to Thơ and Tuấn at VNĐ9 million (US$395) per tonne, the quantity sold has totalled three tonnes so far. The latter resold the produce to Phan Thị Dung, director of Thảo Dung Production Trading Ltd Co based in Bình Phước Province’s Lộc Ninh District at a price of VNĐ12 million ($527) per tonne.
When Đắk Nông police inspected Thảo Dung Company’s warehouse they found nine tonnes of pepper had been mixed with part of the three tonnes of the mixture bought by the company. The remainder was mixed with lime, phosphate and pig dung and spread on rubber plantations for disposal.
The mixture made by Loan and Bảo had not been put up for sale in the market and had been seized by the local police, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Đắk Nông Investigative Police are working with the Ministry of Public Security and Bình Phước Province Police to carry out further investigation into the case. — VNS