September 15, 2008

China Arrests Two Over Milk Power Contamination Case

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

["Two Arrested Over Milk Powder Contamination Scandal"]

SHIJIAZHUANG, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) - Two brothers who had been selling three tons of contaminated milk per day have been arrested in north China's Hebei Province in the wake of the Sanlu milk powder contamination scandal, local police said on Monday.

The brothers surnamed Geng, who had been running a private milk collecting station since May 2004, face the charges of producing and selling toxic and hazardous food, said Shi Guizhong, a police spokesman of Hebei Province.

The elder Geng, 48, began to put melamine, a chemical raw material strictly forbidden in food processing, into milk at the end of last year.

Melamine is used in plastics and other industries. Experts said it can it is added into raw milk so that the protein content of the milk can appear higher than it is actually.

Geng did so because he had suffered losses after milk from his station had been rejected several times by Sanlu Group, producer of the milk powder that gave hundreds of infants kidney stones, for failing to meet Sanlu's standards, according to the police spokesman.

The younger Geng was the one who sent the milk to Sanlu Group. The Geng brothers had since been selling three tons of contaminated milk per day.

The elder Geng confessed to police that his family never drank the contaminated milk and he was aware that he was deceiving the Sanlu Group by adding the chemical into milk.

A total of 19 people from private milk collecting stations have been detained by police in Hebei in the milk powder contamination scandal. The Gengs were the first two to be arrested.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0423 15 Sep 08.

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