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96 detained for tainted milk powder
Date: 2011/1/17 Click: 1849
Police have detained 96 people for illegally using leftover powder from 2008's melamine-tainted milk scandal to produce dairy products or sell such products since July, the State Council's Food Safety Commission said on Thursday.

The 96 were caught in the latest bid to root out the melamine-tainted dairy products that killed six babies and caused kidney problems for another 300,000 children across the country in 2008.

Among the detained, 17 have been convicted, including two people sentenced to life in prison, a statement released by the commission said.

Thirty-eight people were awaiting trial and 41 others under investigation in police custody, the statement said.

In July last year, Dongyuan milk powder, produced in Northwest China's Qinghai province, was found to contain excessive levels of melamine, a toxic chemical normally used in the manufacture of plastics, which triggered the nationwide crackdown.

The chemical was added to watered-down milk to boost protein readings in quality checks.

By the end of last year, about 2,132 tons of melamine-tainted milk powder had been seized in the latest crackdown, all left over from the 2008 scandal, the statement said.

After the 2008 scandal, the central government ordered all contaminated dairy products, including infant formula, yogurt and other products, to be destroyed. But some unscrupulous individuals and enterprises ignored laws and regulations, as well as the health of the public, according to the statement.

It said the latest seized problematic products also exposed loopholes in the country's quality control system for dairy products.

A total of 191 officials were punished for failing to do their duty, with 26 of them fired. Others received demotions or other administrative punishment, the statement said.

The statement also said the central government will adopt more vigorous measures to fight food safety violations and punish officials who fail to perform their duties in this sector.
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