Global Processing

China Uncovers 170 More Tons of Tainted Milk Powder

February 8, 2010
The discovery has punched a 170-ton hole in China''s promises to overhaul its food safety system. The Associated Press reports officials have found yet another case where large amounts of tainted milk powder that should have been destroyed were instead repackaged. China ordered tens of thousands of milk products laced with an industrial chemical burned or buried but the government did not carry out the disposal itself, and this month an emergency crackdown made it clear that tons of compromised products are still on the market. Tainted dairy has recently been found in China''s largest city, Shanghai, and in the provinces of Shaanxi, Shandong, Liaoning, Guizhou, Jilin and Hebei. At least five companies are suspected of reselling tainted products that should have been destroyed, the Health Ministry said. The problem products uncovered in the 10-day emergency crackdown have so far been limited to the domestic market. With the announcement that more products contaminated by the industrial chemical melamine had been found, it appeared the new regulations had failed again. Officials issued a recall for more than 170 tons of milk powder tainted by the industrial chemical melamine and closed two dairy companies in the northern region of Ningxia, the China Daily newspaper reported. The report said officials have already seized 72 tons of the powder but were still looking for the rest, which had been sold by the Ningxia Tiantian Dairy Co. Ltd. to five factories in the neighboring region of Inner Mongolia and the bustling southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. The report said the tainted powder should have been destroyed in the 2008 scandal, but that an unnamed company gave it to Ningxia Tiantian as a debt payment. Ningxia Tiantian has been shut down, and a second company, Ningxia Panda Dairy Co. Ltd., was also ordered closed because of ties to a Shanghai dairy found with tainted goods last year, the report said.