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Fears over tainted milk powder

By Zhao Qian (Global Times)

08:47, January 28, 2013

Chinese consumers expressed concerns about the safety of dairy products imported from New Zealand over the weekend, after the country's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) disclosed on Thursday that some of the products had been found to contain a toxic substance.

But dairy products imported from New Zealand were still on sale in Chinese markets by press time, and both Chinese experts and the MPI said over the weekend that very low levels of dicyandiamide (DCD) would not pose a risk to people's health.

DCD residues were found in some of the products that had been made in September by leading New Zealand dairy company Fonterra Cooperative Group, the MPI said in a statement Thursday, but the residues were not present in the same products made in November.

But Chinese consumers, especially mothers of small babies, said they still felt concerned.

"There would be almost no milk powder that could be trusted if New Zealand dairy products are found to contain toxic substances," Li Ming, a 28-year-old mother in Beijing, told the Global Times Sunday.

Many Chinese consumers have turned to imported milk powder since 2008, when the industrial chemical melamine was found in dairy products from several Chinese companies.

The chemical caused the deaths of at least six babies and sickness in around 300,000 people.

Milk powder from New Zealand currently accounts for around 75 percent of milk powder imports, and many foreign brands like Wyeth have products made using milk from New Zealand, Wang Dingmian, director of the Guangzhou Dairy Industry Association, told the Global Times Sunday.

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