09/02/2010, 00.00
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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.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) –Yashily, China’s top dairy, “recycled” melamine-tainted milk by changing the packaging of a truckload of the product rather than destroying it, the Legal Weekly, an affiliate of the Legal Daily, reported yesterday.

Two years ago this month, China’s tainted milk scandal broke. A total of 22 dairy companies were found adding the organic base (used in making plastics) to baby formula. In humans, it can be poisonous, but its presence can inflate the apparent protein content of products. Six children died from consuming melamine-tainted products and another 300,000 fell ill.

The authorities ordered the destruction of all the adulterated milk.

However, eyewitness said that Yashily failed to destroy its stock of tainted products; instead, in February of last year, it shipped it to warehouses in a village in Ying County, Shanxi.

“They came in a trailer truck 12 metres long and the milk powder would have been more than 30 tonnes," a warehouse owner who rented the warehouse to a Yashily executive, told the weekly.

"After several days Yashily sent several workers with new packaging and labels. They worked a whole day and changed all the old packaging before leaving the warehouse . . . . The workers took away the old packaging and burned all the old labels."

Others, said to be former workers at Yashily's Shanxi branch, confirmed the allegations, saying that the company did recycle rather than destroy its melamine stocks, and that it used substandard milk in its production. Pictures and video are said to confirm the claims.

Another media report last year said, "A total of 12,727 tonnes of substandard milk powder was divided into 11 batches and recycled. More than 765 tonnes of milk powder were produced and 600.82 tonnes of them have been sold. Twenty-one tonnes are to be recycled and 143.81 tonnes are in stock”.

Yesterday, Yashily issued a statement calling the Legal Weekly report "fictional”, adding that it brought the matter to the attention of the police, and that it would seek legal redress against anyone who defamed it.

The quality inspection bureau has remained silent so far. In the past, it reassured the general public several times that it would enforce a zero-tolerance policy against food adulteration.

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See also
Food safety hard to guarantee in China
Hundreds of children still suffering from kidney stones caused by melamine-tainted milk
Milk leads to premature breasts in babies but Beijing excludes link to milk powder
Arrest us, say parents of melamine-tainted milk victims
For years, Chinese dairies made melamine-tainted milk products


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