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'Killer' Milk Powder Traders Arrested

Two dozen people suspected of producing or selling the substandard milk powder that is alleged to have caused the deaths of 13 infants in east China's Anhui Province were arrested on Sunday.

Another 23 suspects involved in the incidents were detained by police in Fuyang, a city in Anhui where the first fake formula case came to light.

The milk powder, with little or no nutritional value, allegedly caused malnutrition in numerous infants, leading to the deaths of 13.

Meanwhile, several other areas in the country where low-quality milk powders were sold are cracking down on makers and sellers of these products.

To date, four hideouts of producers and dealers have been shut down in Fuyang alone, with 1,950 boxes of substandard powder worth around 265,000 yuan (US$32,000) confiscated and burned by police through Sunday.

Officials also dispatched more than 30 teams to Hebei, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces to locate the sources of the products.

Experts say that imposing penalties on illegal manufacturers and wholesalers is only the first step in combating such food fraud, and far from enough.

"The supervisory departments that allowed the fake products to remain on the market for such a long time should also be held responsible," said Ying Songnian, a judicial commissioner with the National People's Congress, voicing the concern of many consumers.

The low-quality milk powders have been found in many areas, including Beijing and the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Hebei, Hunan, Yunnan, and Guangdong.

In southwest China's Sichuan Province, for example, local authorities seized more than 40,000 kilograms of fake milk powders last week, and they promised to take action against suspected suppliers.

The wide-ranging investigation also revealed that a large number of illegal manufacturers are located in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

(China Daily May 11, 2004)

Inferior Milk Powder Confirmed as Cause of Illness
Baby-killing Milk Powder Sales Widespread
Dozens of Milk Powder Products Found Inferior
Inferior Milk Powder Wholesale Dealers Detained
Inferior Milk Powder Leads to Infant Deaths
Fake Milk Powder Kills Dozens of Babies
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