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Three held after milk found to be tainted

A CANCER-CAUSING protein has been found in milk produced in an eastern China city.

Three people from the dairy producer, including its legal representative, have been detained.

Authorities tested 14 batches of milk products from Morning Garden Dairy Co Ltd in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, and found 11 of them were contaminated with protein hydrolyzed from leather waste, a substance which could have been used to increase the apparent protein content in milk products, Shanghai Evening Post reported yesterday.

The case, which follows the fatal Sanlu milk powder scandal, has been referred to police, according to local authorities.

Mao Jianhua, the dairy company's legal representative, and two others have been detained for criminal investigation.

The food inspection department of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine received a report in February that Morning Garden had added the protein, which the administration said was known to cause cancer, to its milk products.

Illegal additive

The company, which has more than 100 employees, was capable of producing 70 tons of products daily, the newspaper said.

Officials from Zhejiang Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision and its Jinhua branch visited the company on March 5, the report said.

The bureau sent product samples to the provincial capital Hangzhou for further testing on March 18 and later found five batches of products contained the illegal additive.

The bureau then tested samples from another six batches of the company's dairy drinks sold at three neighboring cities on April 2 and detected the illegal additive in all of them.

Police in Jinhua detained the three Garden Dairy officials the same day.

Just a few days earlier, on March 26, a court in north China's Hebei Province upheld the sentences on six people for their involvement in the melamine scandal that killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 children last year.

Among those whose appeals were rejected was Tian Wenhua, who had been given a life sentence. The 66-year-old was general manager and chairwoman of the now-defunct Sanlu Group Co.


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