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Milk cases continue to be heard

[ 2009-03-16 13:51]     字号 [] [] []  
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The nation's quality watchdog pledged it would continue to hear pleas made by victim families of the tainted milk scandal in its annual campaign that kicked off during the weekend.

"We will continue to pay close attention to those calls and address the cases, along with other food safety institutions, strictly in keeping with the law," Wang Yong, chief of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), told China Daily while attending the launching ceremony of China's annual quality supervision campaign in Beijing on Saturday.

This year's quality supervision campaign is organized by the China Association for Quality Promotion under the AQSIQ. It will give priority to product quality, manufacturers' practices and industries where quality falls short of the required standards and therefore is still a serious problem, said the organizers.

The dairy industry suffered a drastic loss in revenues last year after 300,000 children nationwide developed kidney stones, among other urinary sicknesses, after consuming infant formula milk powder from 22 dairy producers.

The dairy products were tainted by the presence of the industrial chemical melamine that was blended into dairy products to make these look more nutritious. They were passed off as protein, complete with fake readings shown on the package.

This year's campaign will focus on illegal additives like melamine, said the AQSIQ, as well as fake fertilizers, fake construction materials, unsafe toys and low-priced home appliances targeted at consumers living in rural areas.

Although the government said over nine percent of the victims' families have accepted compensation of up to 200,000 yuan ($29,244), hundreds of families are still pleading their cases with local courts around China, seeking compensation from the manufacturers of tainted milk products. They fear that the affected children might develop more ailments than are evident at the moment.

"The Food Safety Law has just been approved. With the law, the government will set up a responsible mechanism to protect the rights of consumers," said Wang.

The Ministry of Health is still puzzled by certain cases where children developed kidney stones without having taken milk containing melamine.

The top quality supervisor has sought the help of the public to try and get to the bottom of the issue.

"We call upon the society, especially the public, to supervise the quality-related problems," he said.

"They can report the illegal practices of producers and we shall severely punish those that continue to produce unsafe or fake products."

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Milk cases continue to be heard

About the broadcaster:

Milk cases continue to be heard

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.