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UPDATED: 11:21, June 12, 2004
China to launch crackdown on fake baby milk producers
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China has started investigation on enterprises involved in the fake milk powder scandal in Fuyang City, east China's Anhui Province, which has caused 12 babies dead and 189 babies sick of malnutrition, according to the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (SAQSIQ).

The administration issued a notice Friday, ordering comprehensive probe and clean-up of enterprises producing or processing the sub-standard milk powder in 11 provinces,

autonomous regions and municipalities, including Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Hebei, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei and Henan.

The notice also required severe punishment of related officials in local quality supervision departments for failing to prevent these guilty producers.

The inferior milk powder scandal has stirred a nationwide uproar and Premier Wen Jiabao gave an immediate order in late April to launch a thorough investigation into the cases in Fuyang City and in other areas.

Investigators declared in the mid of May that many facts on the case, including production sources, distribution channels and distribution scopes of the substandard milk powders, as well as how the substandard milk powder causing diseases, had been made clear.

Hygienic tests showed that some lawbreakers produced milk powder by starch, sugar, milk essence and other cheap ingredients, making the milk powder deficient in protein, fat, vitamin, which are necessary for child growth.

Fifty-five types of substandard milk powder were found sold in Fuyang in the investigation. They were produced by about 40 enterprises in over 10 provinces, autonomous regions and

municipalities and were sold to Fuyang mainly through Wankelai market in Zhengzhou of central China's Henan Province, Changjiang wholesale market in Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, and Taipingjie market in Bengbu of Anhui Province.

Forty-seven people were detained earlier in May, among whom 40 were arrested on charges of producing and marketing fake milk powder.

Nine officials in Fuyang, including city mayor Liu Qingqiang and two vice-mayors, have been sacked or given disciplinary penalties for dereliction of duty.

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