12/27/2011, 00.00
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Cancer-causing milk brings more danger to China’s food

After the melamine scandal, which left many people dead or sick a few years ago, giant dairy Mengniu acknowledges that some of its products contained aflatoxins, highly carcinogenic substances caused by fungi or mould. Although China’s central government has imposed tighter controls, companies continue to ignore them in the pursuit of profits.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – China’s Mengniu Dairy company acknowledged that its products contained excessive and lethal doses of aflatoxin, one of the most dangerous carcinogens in the world. Although the food giant destroyed the tainted batch of milk, consumers’ confidence has been shaken again.

In a press release, the company said that the problem was discovered before the tainted milk reached stores. "Mengniu would like to express our sincere apologies to consumers," the statement said. "We will learn a big lesson from this incident and will work harder to meet all national and corporate standards on quality." Mengniu is China’s largest dairy.

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by various species of fungus, or by mouldy substances, and are among the most carcinogenic substances known. If they are found in milk, it is because of poor hygiene during production.

Chinese authorities have ordered dairy companies to meet higher standards, but so far, they have failed in their pursuit of profits.

A few years ago, China’s food industry was hit by a succession of scandals. In 2008, six children died and another 300,000 became sick from drinking melamine-tainted milk formula. Melamine is a substance that when added to milk powder artificially boosts its protein content.
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