Published Date: 01 October 2008
By David Barboza in
Source of Article: http://news.scotsman.com/world/Police-arrest-underground-gang-39poisoning.4544104.jp
President Hu Jintao
appeared on yesterday evening's main news bulletin, calling on the country's
dairy industry to step up supervision and pay attention to product quality,
underscoring the leadership's determination to resolve the scandal.
"Food safety is a matter of the health of the people," Hu told the head of a dairy company in the eastern
The arrests, news of which was carried on the official Xinhua news agency, were the third mass detention of suspects in the contamination, which has made more than 50,000 children ill, caused the deaths of at least four from kidney stones, and led to recalls of products at home and abroad suspected of containing adulterated Chinese milk powder.
On 14 September, the government said 19 people had been detained, and on 19 September, 12 more.
Yesterday's announcement said that police officers in northern China, the nation's biggest dairy production area, had raided more than 40 farms and milk plants in Hebei province and seized more than 220kg of melamine, commonly used to make plastics and fertiliser. In food, it falsely inflates the nutritional value when tests are carried out.
The government accused the group of producing melamine in underground factories and selling it to dairy farms to adulterate the milk for profit.
Over the past week, a growing number of global companies have been drawn into the scandal after tests showed that some products had been produced with melamine-tainted milk products from
On Monday, Cadbury, one of the world's biggest confectioners, said that some of the chocolate it sells in
The company said that the products affected had not gone to other countries.
Yesterday, Unilever said it was recalling four batches of its Lipton-brand milk powder in Hong Kong and
Last night, the Dutch food safety watchdog said it had found slightly elevated levels of melamine in biscuits imported from
Last week's figure for children affected, about 53,000, has not been updated, nor has the government held a news conference recently, detailing its findings.
But it has tried to assure consumers that the country's dairy supply is safe, reporting that hundreds of tests since 14 September, involving some of the biggest dairy makers, had not detected melamine.
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