Chinese baby milk scandal widens

The Chinese health ministry announced that a second baby died in recent months and 1,253 others were sickened by contaminated milk formula powder in a widening scandal that has led to a major investigation.

The authorities have confirmed that the tainted powder was laced with melamine, an industrial chemical sometimes used to make plastics and fertiliser. Adding the chemical makes the formula test at higher concentrations of protein.

The tainted milk powder was traced to the Sanlu Group, one of China’s biggest dairy producers, which operates as a joint venture with a New Zealand-based dairy conglomerate, Fonterra.

Last week, Sanlu ordered a recall of its milk powder even though Chinese state media have reported that some parents had been
complaining of problems since March. Two brothers surnamed Geng who ran a milk collection centre in Hebei, the northern Chinese province where Sanlu is based, were arrested for "producing and selling toxic and hazardous food," police told Xinhua on Monday.

Officials say they are questioning nearly 80 people suspected of involvement in the latest case. 

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