September 18, 2008
Sacked Chairwoman of Chinese Dairy Producer Removed From Local Legislature
Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)
[Xinhua by formula scandal: "1st Ld-Writethru: Sacked Sanlu Chairwoman Removed From Local Legislature Over Baby Formula Scandal"]
Shijiazhuang, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) - A sacked board chairwoman and general manager of a Chinese dairy producer was removed from the local legislature on Thursday over the ongoing baby formula scandal.
The decision to dismiss 66-year-old Tian Wenhua, who had led the Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group, as a deputy to the Hebei Provincial People's Congress was made at a meeting of the legislative body's Standing Committee.
The dairy giant Sanlu, based in the Hebei capital of Shijiazhuang in north China, was the first company exposed in the ba. It is 43 per cent-owned by New Zealand dairy company Fonterra and has been ordered to halt all production.
Zhang Zhenling, the newly-elected board chairman, on Thursday apologized for the physical damages and economic losses the company had caused to consumers, including those in Taiwan.
He pledged to step up efforts to recall all the tainted products nationwide.
"We will specially dispatch staff to the remote rural and mountainous areas to retrieve the milk powder."
The company has yet to recall 35 tonnes of tainted milk powder from retail outlets and consumers. It earlier recalled 8,875 tonnes of a total of 8,910 tonnes of "problematic" milk powder it had sold after the scandal was exposed, he said.
The company had also sealed off 2,176 tonnes of tainted milk powder it had yet to sell, he added.
The infant death toll in the scandal has risen to four, the latest fatality reported in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local authorities said on Thursday.
The infant died at a hospital in the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Health Department said, without giving further details.
The contamination earlier claimed the lives of three other babies, two in the northwestern Gansu Province and one in the eastern Zhejiang Province.
Nationwide, more than 6,200 infants have developed kidney stones after drinking Sanlu's baby formula, tainted with the chemical melamine, which was believed to have helped to increase protein content.
Tian, who was also sacked as secretary of the Sanlu Group Committee of the Communist Party of China, has been detained by police for questioning.
To date, 18 suspects in Shijiazhuang have been formally arrested. Six were charged with selling melamine, while 12 others were dealers suspected of selling contaminated milk to Sanlu, Shi Guizhong, Hebei Provincial Public Security Department spokesman, told reporters on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Shijiazhuang Mayor Ji Chuntang resigned over the scandal.
Earlier on Tuesday, four city officials were fired. They included Zhang Fawang, vice mayor in charge of agricultural production; Sun Renhu, the Animal Husbandry and Fishery Bureau director of Shijiazhuang; Zhang Yi, Food and Drug Administration director; and Li Zhiguo, director of the Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.
The State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has carried out test samples involving 491 batches of products sold by all 109 companies that produced baby milk powder in the country. The inspectors found melamine in 69 batches of powder from 22 companies.
Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1207 18 Sep 08.
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