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97 Condemned for Inferior Milk Powder Case

Ninty-seven persons in local governments and supervision departments are blamed for the inferior milk powder scandal cropped up in April in Fuyang City, east China's Anhui Province, according to the Ministry of Supervision (MOS).

The inspection team, headed by MOS, the General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), has investigated into 11 provinces across China including Beijing and Shanghai, and found out 49 inferior milk powder producing companies, one underground producer and three substandard companies, in which 12 involved in Fuyang inferior milk powder case.

The 97 persons, accused for not finding out or fully investigating into the misdoing, will be punished after clarification of their responsibilities according to the laws and regulations concerned, the MOS said.

At least a dozen babies in Fuyang City died after being fed inferior milk powder in April this year. Hundreds of others suffered from "big head" disease, a medical complication stemming from malnutrition.

The State Council thus has organized an investigation group in late April to thoroughly look into the baby milk powder accident in the city as well as other areas around China, vowing to sternly punish the involved individuals and officials.

On Aug. 5, local courts sentenced two wholesale dealers to prison for eight years and one year for selling substandard milk powder in Fuyang.

On Aug. 12, fifty-four Chinese substandard milk powder producers have been ordered to stop operation.

Inspectors asked local governments and supervision departments to take lessons from the case and reinforce their sense of responsibility in order to safeguard people's health and life.

(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2004)

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