The Chinese Central Government has sent eight inspection workinggroups to 16 provincial areas nationwide to prevent themelamine-tainted milk powder, which killed at least six in 2008,from being reclaimed illegally in producing milk products. Leftovers of milk powder contaminated by melamine were sealed in2008 and required to be destroyed, but some might have been used asraw materials for diary products illegally in certain areas,according to local police. Police in Shaanxi province on Thursday publicized a case on illegaluse of leftovers of melamine-tainted milk powder. An initial investigation showed 10 tons of tainted milk powderleftovers were sold to a local diary producer Lekang Company inSeptember and October in 2009. Three suspects were arrested. |
Three suspects from the Shanghai Panda Dairy Company wereprosecuted in December 2009 on suspicion of using leftovers ofmelamine-laced milk powder in milk products. Local police said allthe company's products had been recalled and caused no seriousharms to the consumers. China's food safety authorities on February 1 launched a 10-daychecks for melamine-tainted milk products across the country. However, the string of problems gave another blow to China'sefforts to restore confidence in its dairy products. The melamine-laced milk products scandal in 2008 killed at leastsix infants and sickened 300,000 children across the country.
Any illegal practices concerning food safety would be punishedseverely, an official with the National Food Safety RectificationOffice led by Health Minister Chen Zhu said earlier this week. The quality watchdog of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, hascarried out food safety inspection on 73 batches of differentbrands of milk products and has not found problems. The northeastern Jilin provincial government kicked off a milkproduct safety check at the end of January. "We must do our best to retrieve and destroy milk products thathave quality problems. We can't stand a single pack of such milkpowder to appear in market," said Zang Zhongsheng, head of theJilin provincial administration for industry and commerce.
There is no accurate figure on the amount of problematic milkpowder that has not been destroyed in the 2008 milk productsscandal. But in the bankrupt dairy producer Sanlu alone, more than2,000 tons of melamine-tainted baby formula was sealed in 2008. Sanlu, based in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, suffereddevastating losses and went bankrupt, standing in the spotlight ofthe melamine-tainted milk products scandal in 2008. How to destruct the melamine-tainted milk powder was still a toughnut to crack for many local authorities and dairy firms, accordingto industrial insiders.
A number of experiments had been conducted to find a way to dealwith the melamine-tainted powder in Shijiazhuang, but they allfailed, according to an insider who declined to be named. "If we use the milk powder as fuels, it would cost much more toclean boilers than burning coal; if we use it as ingredients incement, we could not get qualified products; if we just bury it, weworry someone might dig it out illegally as the volume is huge, "the expert said. It was more difficult to monitor small dairy firms, which were moreinclined to use leftovers of tainted milk to cut cost, according toWang Weimin, secretary-general of Xi'an Dairy Association. "They will not do this when milk powder prices are low, but theywill do this when milk powder prices soar," he said. To crack down on such practices, the Chinese government had vowedto investigate the case thoroughly and all factories that useprohibited materials in producing dairy products would be shut downwith license suspended and punished severely.
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