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Authorities seize tainted milk laced with toxic chemical

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Chinese dairies add the industrial chemical melamine to make protein levels appear higher
  • In 2008, six babies died and hundreds of thousands of children fell sick
  • Seized milk contained 500 times the acceptable level of melamine

Beijing, China (CNN) -- Authorities in northwestern China have seized 64 tons of milk powder tainted with a chemical that killed six babies and sickened hundreds of thousands of children two years ago, state-run media said Friday.

The tainted dairy products contained 500 times the acceptable levels of toxic melamine, the Xinhua news agency said. Police traced the dry milk to Dongyuan Dairy Factory in Qinghai province.

Melamine is commonly used in coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants Some Chinese dairy plants add the chemical to milk products so they appear to have a higher protein level.

Xinhua did not say whether the new batch of milk powder had sickened anyone.

A scandal erupted in 2008 when tainted milk killed at least six babies and caused kidney stones and urinary tract problems in hundreds of thousands of children.

In all, 21 people were tried and sentenced in 2009 for their roles in the scandal. Two were executed.