After Chinese food safety authorities recently found milk powder laced with melamine, police have reportedly arrested three officials from the Dongyuan Dairy Factory in Qinghai province and three dairy suppliers from Hebei province. Another 41 suspects have apparently been detained. More than 225 tons of contaminated milk powder have been seized, and authorities believe it is leftover from the batches of melamine-tainted milk powder that should have been destroyed in 2008 when a massive contamination scandal sickened more than 300,000 children and was linked to the deaths of six infants. Producers added melamine to milk powder to increase its protein content, but the required protein level in dairy products has since been reduced to discourage the use of additives.
According to a press report, investigators are seeking evidence that local oversight authorities may have been derelict in their duties and will punish those found responsible. Chinese consumers have reportedly lost confidence in domestic dairy products; imports have apparently skyrocketed despite increases in their cost. See China Daily, August 23, 2010.