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Beijing Simplot Food Processing Co., Ltd. (Courtesy: www.synjnc.com)
McDonald's French Fry supplier in Beijing - Beijing Simplot Food Processing Co. Ltd - has been fined a record 3.9 million yuan (about 655,000 USD) for discharging waste water that exceeded the maximum allowed COD value.

The penalty imposed on Beijing Simplot Food Processing Co. Ltd. -- a joint venture between U.S. agribusiness giant J.R. Simplot Company, McDonald's and the Beijing Agricultural, Industrial and Commerce General Company -- is the largest fine ever meted out by Beijing for pollution.

In November, official inspectors found the chemical oxygen demand (COD) in waste water discharged by the company was 563 mg per liter, exceeding the limit of 500 mg/liter.

Law enforcement officials immediately blocked the company's sewage pipes and ordered it to treat its waste water at a processing plant.

The pollution occurred as Beijing Simplot was upgrading its sewage treatment facilities. The polluted water flowed into urban pipe networks, according to the Fengtai District Environmental Protection Bureau.

The bureau decided on the fine after a hearing in March.

China is strengthening environmental protection with tougher laws and regulations. In January, the amended Environmental Protection Law came into effect, bringing with it tougher measures against polluters and lifted the caps on pollution fines.