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4,000 milk collection stations closed down

NEARLY 4,000 milk collection stations in China have been shut down because of substandard conditions, Song Kungang, director-general of the China Dairy Industry Association, said yesterday.

Addressing a dairy farmers union forum, Song said agriculture authorities inspected all of the country's 20,393 milk collection stations between November 2008 and April this year.

Of those, 3,908 were not sanitary or lacked testing equipment.

Milk stations collect fresh milk from local farmers and sell it to dairy companies.

The remaining 16,485 stations still in operation are now subjected to rotating inspections by provincial and regional agriculture departments.

"All the working milk stations have been under close supervision," Song said in Hohhot, capital of the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Milk stations came under scrutiny last September when it was discovered that owners and farmers were adding melamine to diluted milk to give it higher protein readings. At least six Chinese infants died and almost 300,000 developed kidney problems and other symptoms as a result.

Song also said China's dairy industry is producing more milk.

"China's dairy industry has seen growth in the first quarter since last September when the melamine scandal broke," said Song.

First-quarter output has increased 5.53 percent since the same period last year.


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