Eleven people suspected of making and selling fake brand infant formula stood trial yesterday at Shanghai No.3 Intermedaite People’s Court. The case involved about 21,000 cans, which if genuine would be worth 3.6 million yuan (US$523,537).
The network, from packaging workshops to wholesalers, were accused of making and selling the fake products under the popular brands of “Beingmate” and “Similac” from August 2014 to September 2015. Some of the products failed to meet national safety standards. Prosecutors said Chen Mingjiang, 35, and Pan Xingbing, 33, had started the network in August 2014.
They found a packaging factory called Jingu, based in Jining City, Shandong Province, and ordered 40,000 cans displaying fake Beingmate trademarks. They filled 9,000 cans with cheap domestic formula that they sold for 1.61 million yuan, prosecutors said. From April 2015, the suspects started to fabricate Similac trademarks.
Prosecutors said Zheng Guihong’s factory made more than 20,000 fake Similac cans and Wu Yongjun helped to fabricate 30,000 labels. The cans were transported to Jining and Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, for filling. The suspects were found to have sold about 13,994 cans for just under 2 million yuan, prosecutors said.
The network’s existence emerged in September 2015 after Abbott Laboratories, which owns the Similac brand, reported to Shanghai police that fake products were circulating in the market. By the end of last May, one man handed himself over to police and a further 10 suspects were caught. From their workshops in Jining and Changsha, investigators seized 20,050 fake Beingmate empty cans, along with “many” cans of fake Similac powder. Samples showed some of the nutrient contents fell below the national standards, according to tests by Shanghai Institute of Quality Inspection and Technical Research.