China detains 6 more in milkscandal

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China detains 6 more suspects in milk scandal

By GILLIAN WONG Associated Press Writer Published: Monday, October 6, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 at 4:40 a.m.
China pledged to improve food safety after authorities detained six more people in the country's contaminated milk scandal as the government increases efforts to restore public trust in Chinese-made food products.

[IMG]*&Date=20081006&Category=API&ArtNo=8100 60805&Ref=AR&AvisData=GT&MaxW=250&border=0[/IMG] (external - login to view) Chinese laboratory technicians test samples of Chinese milk products at a laboratory in Mengniu Dairy production base in Beijing, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2008. 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. (AP Photo/EyePress)

The head of China's quality watchdog said the country is also stepping up checks on its exports to ensure they conformed to the food safety standards of recipient countries, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Chinese government has been scrambling to show it is tackling the problem of melamine-contaminated milk powder and products blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 54,000 children with kidney stones and other illnesses in China.
"Food safety concerns not only the health of the public, but also the life of business," said Wang Yong, the director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the agency responsible for ensuring that China's food supply chain is safe.
Wang, who replaced Li Changjiang, the former director who resigned last month in the wake of the scandal, vowed to make "a substantial change in the production and distribution of dairy products."
Part of the agency's clean-up effort was the deployment in mid-September of more than 5,000 inspectors to check dairy factories. Wang said the inspections covered all dairy producers across the country to monitor the entire production process around the clock.
China has struggled to contain public dismay and growing international concern over the latest scandal, castigating local officials for negligence and making arrests while promising to raise product safety standards.
The quality watchdog said Sunday no melamine was found in tests of milk powder produced after Sept. 14, when the melamine contamination scandal broke.
Police in Hohhot, in northern China's Inner Mongolia region detained six suspects for allegedly mixing the industrial chemical melamine into raw milk, a city spokeswoman said Monday.
The spokeswoman, who refused to give her name as is common with Chinese bureaucrats, said the six were being questioned. She declined to say when the detentions took place or give other details.
The arrests followed an investigation into two major Chinese milk companies based in Inner Mongolia, Xinhua said.
The move brings the number of people being held in connection with the scandal to 32.
Word of the detentions came a day after health officials in Hong Kong found high levels of melamine, a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers, in chocolate made in China by British candy maker Cadbury.
In Hong Kong, officials said Sunday they found melamine in samples of two chocolate products made by Cadbury at its Beijing factory. The chocolates are among 11 Chinese-made products already recalled by the company in parts of Asia and the Pacific.
The scandal has sparked global concern about Chinese food imports and recalls in numerous countries of Chinese-made products including milk powder, cookies and candies.
Quality supervisors have been stationed in milk powder production facilities since the scandal broke to oversee the process.
Chinese authorities believe suppliers trying to boost output diluted their milk, then added melamine because its nitrogen content can fool tests measuring protein content.
I sense a few executions looming.

On the whole, not a bad thing, actually.
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