BEIJING // An investigation will be launched into allegations that drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from dead babies were being manufactured in China.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted a ministry spokesman as saying an investigation in August found no such capsules in China.
A new inquiry was opened after new reports of the pills being smuggled into South Korea yesterday.
The Korea Customs Service said it had seized capsules made in north-eastern China from dead babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder.
Deng Haihua, the ministry of health spokesman, said Chinese health departments would work with police, customs agencies and commerce authorities to investigate the latest claims.
The South Korean customs agency began investigating after receiving a tip-off a year ago. No sicknesses have been reported from ingesting the capsules.
South Korean customs officials have refused to say where the dead babies came from or who made the capsules, citing possible diplomatic friction with Beijing.
They said they had discovered 35 smuggling attempts since August of about 17,450 capsules disguised as stamina boosters.
Some people believe the capsules are a panacea for disease. However, they contain bacteria and other harmful ingredients, the customs agency said.