Sanlu apologizes for tainted baby formula

Sept. 16, 2008 at 1:43 AM
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BEIJING, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- China's dairy giant Sanlu Group apologized for its tainted infant formula that has so far killed two babies and caused kidney stones in about 1,200 others.

Sanlu Vice President Zhang Zhenling read a letter of public apology to reporters in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, where the company is located, Xinhua reported.

"We feel really sad about this. Sanlu Group expresses its most sincere apology to you."

Separately, the Chinese health ministry announced Tuesday a multilevel treatment system will be set up for the affected infants.

The Sanlu executive promised the company will recall all the infant milk powder produced prior to Aug. 6 as well as beyond "if consumers have doubts and worries."

The contaminated formula was found to contain melamine, a chemical raw material believed to cause kidney stones. Melamine, used in plastics and other industries, is strictly forbidden in food processing, but experts told Xinhua it is added to raw milk to make its protein content appear higher.

The health ministry said the two babies who died were in Gansu, one a 5-month-old boy and the other an 8-month girl. The report said in both cases, their families had declined further treatment. Both had been taking the Sanlu formula, resulting eventually in kidney failure.

Chinese police were holding 19 people in the case and arrested two brothers for allegedly selling tons of the tainted milk powder daily for months.

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