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Three detained in China for tainted milk powder
Published on: 2009-12-11
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BEIJING — Police in China have detained three people for selling more than five tonnes of chemical-tainted milk powder, state media said Thursday, in a case echoing last year's massive contaminated dairy scandal.


The report by Xinhua news agency said none of the milk powder, which was contaminated by the industrial chemical melamine, had reached stores.


It said the three people were detained on December 2 in the northwestern province of Shaanxi on suspicion of "producing and selling toxic food".


They included Liu Ping, general manager of Shaanxi Jinqiao Diary Company, and two of the firm's employees, identified as Miao Wenjun and Lu Xiaoqiang.


They allegedly sold 5.25 tonnes of melamine-laced milk powder to the Nanning Yueqian Food Additive Company in the southern region of Guangxi, the report said, citing Xu Qiang, deputy head of Shaanxi police.


It said the Guangxi company discovered the presence of melamine in November, prompting an investigation.


The report did not say why it took more than a week for the detentions to be announced.


At least six infants died and nearly 300,000 were made sick last year by milk powder contaminated by melamine, which was added to milk supplies to give the appearance of higher protein content.


Many of the children suffered from kidney stones, kidney failure and other urinary tract problems.


The scandal erupted in September 2008, reviving fears over product safety in China and leading to recalls and bans around the world of goods containing Chinese dairy products.


A total of 21 people have been convicted for their roles in the scandal.


Two men were executed last month, while the former boss of now-bankrupt Sanlu Group -- the dairy giant at the centre of the scandal -- was sentenced to life in prison.


The scandal first came to light after the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.


But there were widespread reports that it had been brewing for weeks or even months and that officials had sought to cover it up to prevent embarrassment during the Games.

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