China fights new tainted product cases

Feb. 3, 2010 at 12:53 AM

BEIJING, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The Chinese government says it has sent unidentified food inspectors to crack down on new cases of milk products tainted with deadly melamine.

Eight teams of inspectors were sent to 16 of China's 34 provinces where these cases have resurfaced, said an official with the National Food Safety Rectification Office, headed by the health minister, Xinhua reported Wednesday.

However, the official, who was not named, did not disclose the total number of inspectors nor their identities, the report said. Any violation of food safety would be severely dealt with, the official said.

It was reported last month contaminated dairy products had resurfaced in many provinces in China in a reminder of the 2008 scandal in which 300,000 children were sickened and at least six of them died. Last November, two people accused in the 2008 scandal were executed.

The recent discovery of similar tainted products indicated the continuing presence of the compound despite the 2008 disaster.

In Wednesday's report, Xinhua quoted authorities that melamine-tainted milk powder that should have been destroyed was still being used. The report said melamine, an industrial compound, can give a false positive in protein tests but causes kidney stones.

"These cases reveal that the toxic milk powder recalled in 2008 was not completely destroyed and is now illegally reused for new products," the official said.

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