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    China says new tests show milk free from melamine

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    05.10.2008 - 14:22 | Son Güncelleme:

    China's food safety watchdog said Sunday no traces of the industrial chemical melamine were found in new tests of milk powder sold domestically, as officials sought to restore public trust in milk supplies. (UPDATED)

    The tests of 129 batches of baby milk powder and 212 batches of other kinds of milk powder showed they were free from melamine contamination, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its website.

    Milk powder containing melamine has been blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 54,000 infants with kidney stones and other illnesses in China.

    The latest tests were on baby formula and other kinds of milk powder produced after Sept. 14, when the scandal broke, the watchdog said. Quality supervisors have been stationed in baby milk powder production facilities to oversee the process.

    The scandal has sparked global concern about Chinese food imports and recalls in several countries of Chinese-made products including milk powders, biscuits and candies such as the widely sold White Rabbit sweets, which have been pulled from shelves in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

    On Saturday, the safety regulator said tests of milk in liquid form had found no melamine. It was the second time in less than a week that the authority said tests of liquid milk products showed no contamination.

    The food safety watchdog had said last week that tests of milk powder products for adults manufactured before Sept. 14 had found the chemical.

    The government has been struggling to contain public dismay over widespread contamination of milk supplies, castigating local officials for negligence while promising to keep stores supplied with clean milk.

    Chinese authorities believe suppliers trying to boost output diluted their milk, adding melamine because its nitrogen content can fool tests measuring protein content.

    Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry said on its website late Saturday it was supervising a campaign to subsidize dairy farmers badly hit by the crisis.

    Farmers had been dumping raw milk as daily reports of the toxic contents of some dairy products had caused demand to shrink rapidly, the ministry said in a statement.

     

    "On the one hand we must crack down on illegal behavior but on the other hand we must protect the interests of the dairy sector," said the statement.

     

    "We must do our best to minimize the dumping of milk and we must resolutely prevent the killing of cows," it said.

     

    The ministry said it had achieved some success in restoring confidence, citing 14 local governments that had come up with policies to stabilize the dairy industry.

     

    It mentioned Hebei province, which had earmarked 316 million yuan ($46 million) as subsidies, paying farmers 200 yuan for each cow.

     

    GLOBAL RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE

    While China was seeking to repair the damage at home, the wave of recalls and warnings rolled on abroad.

     

    In neighboring Myanmar, authorities urged people not to consume Chinese milk and dairy products after the country’s food and drug watchdog destroyed 16 ton of imported baby formula tainted with melamine, the state-controlled newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Sunday.

     

    Guyana on Saturday became the second Caribbean Community member, after Surinam, to pull Chinese dairy products off the market.

     

    Also on Saturday, South Korea ordered Mars and Nestle to pull three products after melamine was detected in snacks made in China by the multinationals.

     

    A fourth Chinese milk product was withdrawn from sale in Australia after tests revealed it was tainted with melamine, Food Standards Australia New Zealand said in a statement.

     

    A Japanese importer, meanwhile, began recalling Chinese chocolates suspected of being contaminated with melamine.

     

    The European Union recently banned all imports on Chinese milk-related products for children such as biscuits and chocolate on top of a long-standing embargo on Chinese dairy products like milk and yoghurt.

     

    Photo: Reuters


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