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China to unify supervision of dairies
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-01 09:04

China has vowed to tighten regulation over the dairy industry by bringing all milk procurement stations in the country under one supervision system, a senior official said Tuesday.

Sun Zhengcai, minister of agriculture, said the ministry launched a month-long campaign on Sept 22 to check milk procurement stations, together with the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Health.

"We will examine each and every milk procurement station and stamp out the practice of adding melamine to fresh milk," he said. "A long-term supervision system will be established to cover all milk procurement stations."

The Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine said Tuesday that it had found most milk and formula milk are safe.

After conducting inspection on baby formula milk and liquid milk, the administration conducted inspection on ordinary and formula milk not included in the previous tests, China News Service reported.

Among 154 ordinary and formula milk producers inspected this time, which have more than 70 percent of the market share, 87 percent did not have melamine in their products. There are about 290 such milk producers in the country.

Out of the 260 batches of products made before Sept 14, 88.3 percent did not contain melamine.

The administration said most of the products found to have contained melamine in this round of inspection were still mainly related to Sanlu Group and its affiliated companies.

Wang Jianguo, spokesman for the Shijiazhuang government, in Hebei province, Tuesday said the government "feels a deep sense of guilt and regret" for the babies poisoned by melamine and their parents.

He said the government on Aug 2 had received reports from Sanlu Group that some milk powder caused kidney stones. On receiving the report, the government took some measures such as offering medical treatment to patients, urging Sanlu Group to import inspection machines and recalling the company's milk powder from the market.

However, the government did not report the Sanlu communiqu to the Hebei provincial government until Sept 9.

Zhou Bohua, minister of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, said Tuesday that the industry and commerce authorities at all levels will ensure that all reported defective dairy products are taken off the shelves.

He said the industry and the authorities across the country had made 9.724 million checks on milk powder and liquid milk as of Tuesday and forced 8,256 tons of milk powder and liquid milk out of the market.