BEIJING, March 12 (UPI) -- China's milk products are safe and no longer tainted, a top agricultural official said Saturday.
Vice Minister Wei Chao'an made the assurance outside a parliamentary meeting in Beijing, Xinhua reported.
"The ministry has conducted regular tests on milk products over the past few years, and has not detected melamine or leather hydrolyzed protein," he said.
Wei said China's produce is "generally safe" but acknowledged consumer confidence is still recovering from the contamination of baby formula with melamine in 2008, which killed at least six babies and sickened 300,000 children.
Many Chinese mothers traveled to Hong Kong, Macau and overseas to buy baby formula and powdered milk after the scandal, and imports of milk powder have risen.
Wei said fears of "leather milk," to which hydrolyzed protein from leather processing was added, may derive from a 2009 case in Jinhua, in eastern Zhejiang province. The government says the company involved, the Chenyuan Dairy, has been punished.