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New dairy products not tainted
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Latest tests on Chinese dairy products have found no traces of melamine, following a scandal involving powdered milk tainted with the chemical, the country's top quality supervision agency said Friday.

Samples of 128 batches from 31 brands of baby formula produced after September 14 did not contain melamine, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said.

Shoppers walk past milk packages with labels claiming the products are free of melamine, in a supermarket in Haikou, capital of Hainan province October 2,2008. [China Daily]

Shoppers walk past milk packages with labels claiming the products are free of melamine, in a supermarket in Haikou, capital of Hainan province October 2,2008. [China Daily]

Recent tests on 212 batches of newly produced milk powder for adult consumption from 84 brands were also found to be free of the chemical, the administration said.

Similarly, the AQSIQ said on Saturday all freshly made liquid milk products in the domestic market were safe for consumption. Samples of 609 batches of the products from 75 domestic brands, taken from 27 cities across the country, were safe.

No problems were detected with products from top-selling dairy brands such as Yili, Mengniu and Bright Dairy, whose goods were found contaminated with melamine in previous checks, the AQSIQ said.

The authorities ordered a nationwide inspection of baby formula on September 11 after media reported the dairy products from Sanlu Group contained melamine.

The chemical is often used in plastic and is banned in food manufacturing. It can make dairy products appear high in protein content during quality checks, but can lead to kidney problems if consumed.

Melamine has been blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 50,000 others.

Tests for melamine were soon broadened to include all dairy products on the market as the chemical was also found in adult milk powder, liquid milk and other dairy items such as yogurt.

Quality supervision official Qu Rui'e (right) monitors milk tests at a dairy company in Shaanxi Province, West China. [Xinhua]

Quality supervision official Qu Rui'e (right) monitors milk tests at a dairy company in Shaanxi Province, West China. [Xinhua] 

In addition to its latest reassurance to the public that domestic dairy products are safe, the AQSIQ has ordered stores and supermarkets nationwide to post notices including detailed information on quality testing such as brands and batch numbers for consumers.

On Saturday, Agriculture Minister Sun Zhengcai also called for a countrywide inspection on animal feed for melamine.

"All animal feed producers should be checked," he said.

Raw-milk collection stations should be registered with local authorities to further facilitate supervision, Sun said.

Governments in 14 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions already have policies in place to support local dairy industries, he added.

The Ministry of Agriculture has also developed an emergency rescue plan with the Ministry of Finance to provide special subsidies to dairy farmers, Sun said.

These moves have proven effective, as the rate of raw milk being dumped in the country amid the contamination scandal has decreased from 23.6 percent on September 22 to 4.6 percent on October 1, he said.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency October 6, 2008)

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