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Dozens of Milk Powder Products Found Inferior

A joint state investigative team has released its first report into the deadly milk powder incident that claimed the lives of 13 infants and sent more than 170 to hospitals. The report, released Thursday, indicates that dozens of milk powder companies in eight provinces have been producing substandard milk.

The team, led by the State Food and Drug Administration, inspected 205 varieties and 149 brands of milk powder produced by 141 companies. All the products were available on the market in Fuyang, Anhui Province, in eastern China.

Investigators found 55 kinds of milk powder produced by 46 companies located in eight provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions were substandard.

Most of the inferior products did not meet the requirement that the milk contain 12 percent protein.

Thirty-one products contained less than 5 percent protein. One of them had only 0.37 percent, the report indicated.

The team returned to Fuyang Thursday night to continue its investigation.

According to a team organized by the Anhui provincial government, 17 of the 45 substandard milk powders it examined came from northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, seven from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and the rest from Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Shandong, Hebei, Hubei and Jiangxi.

Five wholesalers suspected of distributing substandard or fake milk powders in Fuyang had been arrested by local police by Wednesday night.

Two suspects have confessed and revealed the channels through which they received their products. Interrogations are still under way, according to Legal Daily.

The local government has decided to provide treatment to all the babies who are still ill at no cost, and pay the families of each deceased victim 10,000 yuan (US$1,200).

(China Daily April 23, 2004)

Suspected Fake Milk Producers Investigated
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