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The crisis -- which has spread overseas with Chinese milk products pulled out of stores in dozens of countries -- has forced the government to fire local and even high-level officials for negligence, and make repeated promises to raise product safety standards.
Last week, the Health Ministry issued guidelines limiting acceptable melamine levels in milk and food products. There had been no previous standards for the amount of the chemical allowed.
Health officials said deliberate tainting is explicitly forbidden but acknowledged that small amounts of melamine can leach from the environment and packaging into milk and other foods.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, has also tightened quality control regulations for the dairy industry, mandating stricter controls over cattle breeding, the purchase of raw milk and the production and sale of dairy products.
The measures increase punishments for those caught violating safety standards.
On Monday, the AQSIQ said that the latest tests on 172 batches of milk powder from 55 different brands showed them to be safe for melamine content.
So far, 1,300 batches of milk powder from 195 different brands produced after Sept. 14 have shown no signs of contamination, it said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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