China has dispatched inspectors to 16 provinces to urge
local authorities to thoroughly investigate cases concerning food safety, the
government's latest move against a string of reportedly resurfacing
melamine-tainted milk products after a nationwide crackdown in 2008.
law-breaking concerning food safety will be severely dealt with, an official
with the National Food Safety Rectification Office led by Health Minister Chen
Zhu said here Tuesday.
The unnamed official said the office recently
dispatched eight teams of inspectors. The official did not give details on the
total number of inspectors involved or their identities.
laced with melamine that should have been destroyed has been used, local
Media reports said melamine-tainted dairy
products have resurfaced in several Chinese provinces.
Melamine is an
industrial compound which can give a false positive on protein tests and cause
kidney stones. Melamine-contaminated milk products left at least six children
dead and 300,000 sickened in 2008.
"These cases reveal that the toxic
milk powder recalled in 2008 was not completely destroyed and is now illegally
reused for new products," the official said.
In December 2009, three
people from the Shanghai Panda Dairy Company were prosecuted on suspicion of
producing and selling melamine-tainted milk powder. Local police said all the
company's products had been recalled and that there was no harm to
Another three people from the Shaanxi Jinqiao Dairy Co. Ltd.
in northwest Shaanxi Province had also been detained by police over suspected
tainted milk powder sales before its products reached retail stores.
safety issues have became particularly sensitive in China after the 2008 milk
scandal. The government has intensified supervision of food safety with new laws
and regulations, including the Food Safety Law that took effect on June 1, 2009.
Nationwide checks of food safety have also been increased.
said food safety was a global issue, one that existed in both developing and
Improving food safety standards is a long-term tough
task for China, the official