Bad milk powder in Shenzhen

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 12:00am

Authorities in cities including Shenzhen and Zhuhai have seized hundreds of bags of substandard milk powder following the deaths of at least 13 Anhui babies who were fed weak formula.

More cases of malnutrition in babies fed the formula were uncovered in Hebei and Shandong provinces.

In Shenzhen's Lo Wu district, the Administration for Industry and Commerce seized more than 140 bags of blacklisted milk powder from a supermarket on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

A day earlier in Zhuhai, the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine seized 200 bags of one of the 55 brands of formula blacklisted by the government. They are sending samples of the seized milk powder for testing.

Substandard milk powder was also found in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, and Xian in Shaanxi.

A six-month-old baby from Hebei, now being treated in Beijing, was the latest victim, according to the Beijing Times.

Eight babies in Heze, Shandong, were also reported to have fallen ill since November.

The discoveries of banned formula elsewhere raised fears more infants may have died. Central government inspectors sent to Fuyang in Anhui this week confirmed a further five fatalities in addition to eight reported earlier in the city and said 171 babies had malnutrition from being fed formula low in protein.

A team made up of members from the State Food and Drug Administration, State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Health has launched a second investigation in Fuyang on the orders of Premier Wen Jiabao.

Two lawyers from Beijing have arrived in Fuyang, hoping to contact victims' families to help them get compensation, Xinhua reported.

Outraged that so many babies had fallen victim to substandard formula, the lawyers, Li Kemin and Du Baohe, wished to give free legal aid to the families to sue manufacturers and distributors, the news agency said.