96 arrested in China for selling adulterated milk powder

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 12:10 hrs

Beijing, Jan 13 (IANS) Ninety-six people are being held in police custody in China, and are awaiting prosecution for using melamine-tainted milk powder, a government statement said Thursday.

The State Council's Food Safety Commission said the accused were found to have used melamine-tainted milk powder as raw material to produce or sell dairy products, Xinhua reported.

Among them, 17 have been convicted, including two people sentenced to life in prison, the statement added.

Chinese authorities since July 2010 have cracked down on the use of contaminated milk powder. About 2,132 tonnes of melamine-tainted milk powder was seized in the latest crackdown, the statement said.

A total of 26 officials were fired for failing to do their duty.

In July last year, Dongyuan milk powder, produced in western China's Qinghai province, was found to contain excessive levels of melamine, a toxic chemical used in the manufacture of plastics.

In 2008, melamine-tainted milk powder killed at least six infants and led to 300,000 children falling ill across the country.