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Seven Detained for Making, Selling Fake Milk Powder

Seven people have been detained for producing some 60 tons of fake and low-quality milk powder in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, just months after at least 13 babies died in a similar scandal in Anhui Province.

Two people were arrested and five detained for questioning after it was discovered that the powder, some fake and some real but lacking in protein and other nutrients, had been sold.

Xinhua news agency reports that the local government broke up the illegal milk powder production ring and seized the remaining 36 tons of powder.

Earlier this year in east China's Anhui Province, 13 infants died and another 189 suffered malnutrition as a result of being fed substandard powdered milk.

During the subsequent investigation, 55 types of fake milk powder produced by 40 enterprises in various locations around the country were found sold being sold in Anhui. In August, two officials were jailed for failing to prevent the scandal

Many of the Anhui victims were the children of poor farmers who purchased the milk powder because of its low price. Few recognized the symptoms of malnutrition that appeared, thinking that the swelling caused by edema was normal weight gain.

As a result of the scandal, Premier Wen Jiabao made rectification of the food and drug market a priority in the country's campaign to regulate economic and market order.

(China.org.cn, CRI October 18, 2004)

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