Xinhua News Agency

50 held as investigation into milk scandal deepens

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 May, 2004, 12:00am

Authorities on the mainland have detained or arrested 50 people as the investigation into the sale of substandard milk powder continues.

At least 16 infants fed substandard milk powder in Fuyang city , Anhui province , died of malnutrition recently and hundreds more were left ill.

The news that the powder, which contained only a fraction of the required protein content, was being widely produced and sold sparked public outrage and resulted in a government pledge to catch the culprits and clean up the industry.

Up to last Friday, prosecutors in Fuyang had detained 45 people and officially arrested five suspects over the scandal, Xinhua reported yesterday. These suspects were linked to 38 cases of sales of substandard powder. The central government issued an emergency circular late last week requiring local governments to strengthen their monitoring and regulatory procedures regarding milk powder.

Since the circular was issued, officials around the country have launched various investigations, examining the quality of milk powder on sale, the People's Daily reported.

In Chengdu , Sichuan province , the Industry and Commerce Bureau found 40 tonnes of counterfeit milk powder in two warehouses, Xinhua reported yesterday. Officials said they had already identified 13 companies from Heilongjiang and 10 from Inner Mongolia that made counterfeit milk powder products.