October 9, 2008 in City

China adopts levels for milk

Associated Press

BEIJING – China has adopted its first rules governing allowable levels of an industrial chemical at the center of the tainted milk scandal, as it tries to assuage a growing number of countries that are banning its imports.

The government has been struggling to deal with health and public relations issues since the crisis erupted last month. China’s food exports have suffered.

The melamine contamination has been blamed in the deaths of four babies and for sickening more than 54,000 children.

Dairy suppliers have been accused of adding melamine to watered-down milk to make the product appear rich in protein and fool quality control tests.

Under guidelines adopted Wednesday, melamine limits are set at one part per million for infant formula and 2.5 parts per million for liquid milk, milk powder and food products that contain more than 15 percent milk.

Melamine, used in products including plastics, paint and adhesives, can lead to kidney stones and possibly life-threatening kidney failure.

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