World News

China faces new melamine scandal

BEIJING (Reuters) - More than 1,500 boxes of Chinese biscuits exported to Hong Kong and Singapore have tested positive for melamine as suspects in the protracted tainted-food scandal go on trial in China, local media reported on Tuesday.

The scandal has battered faith in Chinese-made products after a series of food- and product-safety scares and led to recalls of Chinese-made dairy products around the world. At least six babies died after drinking contaminated formula in China and hundreds of thousands fell ill.

Melamine is an industrial compound used in making plastic chairs, among other things, and is added to food to cheat nutrition tests.

Quality inspectors in Dongguan in the southern province of Guangdong found the latest contaminated biscuits after examining 13 batches of 4,800 boxes for export after neighboring Hong Kong, a “special administrative region” of China, and Singapore reported tainted samples, the China News Service said.

The tainted products had been destroyed while others were sent back to the manufacturer, it said. Investigations showed the melamine in the biscuits came from milk powder, it added.

Tian Wenhua, former chairwoman of Sanlu Group, goes on trial on Wednesday along with other three senior executives of the company that was at the heart of the scandal and since gone bankrupt, the Beijing News said.

By Monday, 17 suspects involved in producing, selling, buying and adding melamine into raw milk had gone on trial, the China News Service said.

Reporting by Liu Zhen; Editing by Nick Macfie