Judicial authorities in Henan have asked more than 20 local lawyers to withdraw their offers to help parents affected by the milk powder scandal seek compensation. The warning came as the central government vowed to revamp the dairy industry and hold producers and local officials responsible for the scandal, which has tarnished the nation's image regarding food safety. Premier Wen Jiabao chaired an executive meeting of the State Council on Monday promising that law-breakers and producers who put profits before people's lives would be penalised. The scandal, which came to light last month, has claimed at least four lives and sickened more than 54,000 children who have been fed milk contaminated with melamine. Melamine is an industrial chemical used by dairy farmers to cheat on protein tests of their milk. Since the scandal broke, more than 100 lawyers have offered to help parents sue producers for compensation and redress. But only one lawyer has filed a suit, in Henan. The court is expected to decide within days whether to accept the case. Meanwhile, authorities in Henan have put pressure on some of them to withdraw their services. 'They [officials] expressed their position to the lawyers or their bosses by telephone calls and in meetings,' Xu Zhiyong, a human rights lawyer from the Beijing-based Open Constitution Initiative, which is also one of the organisers of the group of lawyers. 'But they did not give reasons [for wanting them to withdraw].' Mr Xu said the officials admitted it was 'good' the lawyers had volunteered their services but still said they should give up. 'None of the Henan lawyers has agreed to co-operate with the officials,' he said. 'We regret the demand by Henan officials, and their behaviour has not only violated human rights, but also undermined the goodwill of the central government to show concern to victims of the toxic milk powder incident.' At least 98 babies in Henan suffered from kidney problems after drinking milk powder made by Sanlu Dairy Group. But none of the parents has formally asked the lawyers to represent them in legal action against Sanlu and other dairy companies involved, Zhang Yuanxin , one of the lawyers based in Xinjiang , said.