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    » 02/17/2010, 00.00

    CHINA

    For years, Chinese dairies made melamine-tainted milk products



    Medium-size dairies produced and sold melamine-tainted milk products throughout 2009, until they were caught. The government announces tougher measures, has not yet made public the actual data on tainted-milk products. Far more was sold than has actually been seized.
    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Jintian Dairy sold melamine-tainted milk, which was given to at least 5,000 children. Although the authorities have shut down the company, many wonder how effective food safety measures are.

    Since 2004, the company used inferior milk that no other dairy used, trading quality for lower costs, and sold it as baby formula after adding melamine, the local press reported.

    Melamine is a chemical compound with properties that imitate proteins. Added to food products, it can increase the apparent protein content. However, it is poisonous for humans.

    In September 2008, a scandal broke out in China when a number of dairy producers were caught using the substance. At least, 300,000 children fell ill as a result and seven died.

    This week, nation-wide controls led the authorities to shut down three unscrupulous diaries in Xi’an, Xianyang and Weinan (Shaanxi) that used powder milk that contained high traces of the chemical.

    Lekang Dairy in Weinan was also closed and four people arrested for selling 28 tonnes of tainted powder milk.

    The authorities are still on guard since official figures indicate that five dairies in Shaanxi, Ningxia and Liaoning produced 200 tonnes of milk powder but that only 80 have been traced so far.

    At the same time though, the government has not released any information about tainted milk products sold by other dairies.

    The government made public and state news agency Xinhua reported that the Provincial Health Bureau seized more than 10 tonnes of tainted milk powder between April 2009 and January 2010 used by a company in Yingkou and two ice cream makers in Liaoyang and Tieling.

    Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced today a new food-safety campaign, pledging greater safety checks and punishment for producers.

    Still, people are increasingly complaining by the lack of proper safety checks on food since the scandal broke in September of 2008.

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    See also

    22/09/2008 CHINA
    53 thousand Chinese babies ill due to melamine milk
    Four babies have died; almost 13 thousand hospitalised; 104 have grave real failure. Premier Wen Jiabao apologizes to the entire nation. The WHO blames lack of communication between Chinese authorities. In Hong Kong a child feed with adulterated milk dies. Singapore bans all imports that contain Chinese milk products.

    11/11/2010 CHINA
    Arrest us, say parents of melamine-tainted milk victims
    Zhao Lianhai’s conviction leads to major protest. He was found “guilty” of defending victims’ rights. Chinese authorities appear unwilling to tolerate any form of protest, but parents say they are prepared to do anything to defend their children’s rights.

    02/09/2010 CHINA
    China’s foremost dairy company accused of “recycling” melamine-tainted milk
    Hundreds of tonnes of milk powder containing melamine were seized in 2008 in order to be destroyed. Now, a weekly paper accuses one of the companies involved in the original scandal of recycling the toxic product. The company denies the allegation whilst the authorities are silent.

    13/07/2010 CHINA
    Food safety hard to guarantee in China
    Health Ministry official reaches this unpalatable conclusion. Experts say consumer protection can only be achieved if protection agencies are independent from political institutions.

    15/10/2008 CHINA
    Beijing pulls all pre-14 September dairy products off the shelves
    China’s central government removes all dairy products that pre-date melamine scandal. Dairy products must pass new government tests before sale, but some retailers are still selling tainted products.



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