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China milk quality 'greatly improved' after melamine scandal
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A nationwide campaign has effectively curbed milk adulteration and the quality of raw milk has "greatly improved" since a scandal involving melamine tainting, a senior official said in Beijing on Wednesday.

The latest tests found all 660 batches of raw milk met interim limits on melamine, Gao Hongbin, vice minister of agriculture, told a teleconference.

The tests covered six major milk-production regions, including Beijing, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Hebei Province.

In the scandal, melamine, often used in the manufacture of plastics, was added to substandard or diluted milk to make protein levels appear higher. Irresponsible milk dealers and milk-collection stations were blamed for the practice.

Gao said milk-collection stations have been registered and are under quality supervision. Gao did not provide further details.

Gao urged all departments concerned to increase quality supervisors and improve quality supervision of raw milk and animal feed.

Dairy farmers in Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong and Henan, who saw demand plummet amid the scandal, have received 300 million yuan (US$44 million) from the ministries of agriculture and finance to offset their loss, according to Gao.

Meanwhile, the latest tests of 22,700 batches of animal feed showed 97.6 percent of the samples met the melamine restrictions, Gao said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2008)

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