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Inspectors check local milk producer for tainted powder

The Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said yesterday it was investigating whether Dumex, the powder-milk unit of France's Danone Group, had produced milk powder contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

The bureau said its probe followed an order from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, China's top quality supervisor, to investigate the safety of Dumex milk powder made before September 14 last year.

The bureau did not explain why the date was chosen and declined to give further details on the investigation.

Dumex milk powder was still on sale in China yesterday.

Overseas media reported last month that 48 Chinese infants "recently" suffered kidney illnesses after drinking Dumex milk powder.

But Pu Jiabin, external affairs director for Dumex Baby Food Co Ltd, told Xinhua news agency yesterday that there were no medical reports or other evidence supporting the reported link between the infant illnesses and the company's milk powder.

After China's milk scandal was exposed last September, government-certified laboratories conducted spot checks on 2,651 batches of Dumex products made since April 2007, and none were found to be contaminated with melamine, Pu said.

Dumex said on its Chinese Website that it sold the most baby milk powder in China in 2005 and 2006 in terms of volume and revenue.

It also said on its Malaysian Website yesterday that "the current situation in China has been incorrectly reported, and our colleagues there have confirmed that Dumex products manufactured in China have been tested thoroughly by certified official laboratories and were found to contain no melamine."

Melamine contamination of milk powder killed at least six Chinese infants and sickened almost 300,000. More than 300 children were still hospitalized at the end of December, according to the Ministry of Health.

Two people have been sentenced to death for their roles in the contamination, while the ex-chairwoman of Sanlu Group, which was at heart of the scandal, was jailed for life.


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