January 2, 2010 / 9:32 AM / 10 years ago

Shanghai dairy shut after melamine scare: report

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Shanghai dairy has been closed and three of its executives arrested for selling milk powder tainted with melamine, the industrial chemical responsible for the death of six children in 2008, Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua said powder and flavoring products sold by the Shanghai Panda Dairy Company were found to contain illegally high traces of the toxic chemical, which is rich in nitrogen and enables producers to foil mandatory protein content tests.

The company’s warehouses were sealed off and authorities were currently overseeing the recall of the company’s products from seven other regions, Xinhua reported on Thursday.

In 2008, six children died and another 300,000 took ill after drinking melamine-tainted milk in a scandal that culminated in the bankruptcy of state-owned dairy Sanlu and the execution of two people.

The scandal, one of a series incidents which sparked product safety scares, stoked widespread public anger and forced the resignation of China’s top food safety official, Li Changjiang.

Early last month, three people were detained in northwest China’s Shaanxi province after being accused of selling 5.25 tonnes of milk powder laced with melamine, which is normally used in plastics and fertilizers and can cause kidney stones when ingested.

Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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