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China says new tests show milk free from melamine

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[October 06, 2008]  BEIJING (AP) -- China's food safety watchdog said Sunday no traces of the industrial chemical melamine were found in new tests of milk powder sold domestically, as officials sought to restore public trust in milk supplies.

The tests of 129 batches of baby milk powder and 212 batches of other kinds of milk powder showed they were free from melamine contamination, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its Web site.

HardwareMilk powder containing melamine has been blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 54,000 infants with kidney stones and other illnesses in China.

The latest tests were on baby formula and other kinds of milk powder produced after Sept. 14, when the scandal broke, the watchdog said. Quality supervisors have been stationed in baby milk powder production facilities to oversee the process.

The scandal has sparked global concern about Chinese food imports and recalls in several countries of Chinese-made products including milk powders, biscuits and candies such as the widely sold White Rabbit sweets, which have been pulled from shelves in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


On Saturday, the safety regulator said tests of milk in liquid form had found no melamine. It was the second time in less than a week that the authority said tests of liquid milk products showed no contamination.

The food safety watchdog had said last week that tests of milk powder products for adults manufactured before Sept. 14 had found the chemical.

The government has been struggling to contain public dismay over widespread contamination of milk supplies, castigating local officials for negligence while promising to keep stores supplied with clean milk.

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Chinese authorities believe suppliers trying to boost output diluted their milk, adding melamine because its nitrogen content can fool tests measuring protein content.

The Agriculture Ministry, meanwhile, said it is providing subsidies to Chinese dairy farmers badly hit by declining demand for milk. Many farmers have been tossing out raw milk as they are squeezed by feed costs they can't recoup due to waning demand.

The ministry's statement did not give details of the subsidy plan.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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