China Dairy Producer Says It Destroys Tainted Milk

By Salon Staff

Published December 26, 2011 7:36AM (EST)

BEIJING (AP) — China's biggest milk producer says it has destroyed a batch of milk after it was discovered to have excessive levels of a cancer-causing toxin, in another safety scare for the country's dairy industry.

Mengniu Dairy Group said in a statement seen on its website Monday that the problem was discovered before the milk tainted with high levels of aflatoxin was sold to the public.

"Mengniu would like to express our sincere apologies to consumers," the company said, adding none of the tainted products had made their way into the market.

"We will draw a big lesson from this incident and will work harder to meet all national and corporate standards on quality in the future," it said.

Aflatoxin is a carcinogenic substance produced by a fungus. Mengniu said in its statement issued Sunday that the milk was made at one of its plants in Sichuan province in southwestern China.

China's food chain, and especially the diary industry, has come under increased scrutiny in recent years because of a series of safety problems.

In 2008, at least six babies died and 300,000 became sick after being feed milk powder tainted with melamine. The industrial chemical is illegally added to dairy products to make them appear higher in protein.

A dairy farmer and a milk salesman were executed and 19 other people were jailed for their role in selling the tainted milk products.

Salon Staff

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