2 arrested in raid on fake formula factory

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 March, 2011, 12:00am

Two suspects and nearly 11 tonnes of fake baby formula made with starch and sucrose were seized from a warehouse-turned-factory in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on Monday in the latest milk powder scandal on the mainland.

Mainland media quoted Shenyang police as saying that fake infant formula - which contained no milk at all - could cost as little as five yuan (HK$5.90) a bag to make, using raw materials including dextrin, vegetable oil, and flavourings.

The fake baby formula was destined to be sold to local markets in 30-bag lots for 200 yuan. Quality baby formula sells for about 200 yuan a kilogram.

Police also seized a large quantity of high-quality counterfeit packaging from the 700-square-metre factory.

Although authorities insisted that the fake milk powder from the factory had never made it onto the market, state media said the two suspects, both in their 30s and from Heilongjiang province, had made fake formula valued at more than 1 million yuan across the country in the past year.

In 2004, about 200 babies in Fuyang, Anhui province, were left with enlarged heads after being fed fake infant formula of little nutritional value.

Doctors warned that feeding babies such counterfeits could cause malnutrition, growth retardation or death. At least six infants died in the melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008, while more than 300,000 children suffered kidney damage.

A spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference said in Beijing yesterday that those convicted of manufacturing tainted food could face the death penalty under recent revisions to the Criminal Code.