China government strengthens quality supervision on export goods and foods
Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Monday ordered its local agencies to step up quality supervision efforts targeted at export-oriented foods, dairy products, medicines, toys and furniture products.
This notice came after tainted dairy products sickened thousands of infants in the country.
China's tainted milk scandal spread beyond the mainland to Hong Kong, as doctors in the city discovered a kidney stone in a 3-year-old girl, Bloomberg reported. The girl's parents took her for a checkup after learning the milk she had been drinking for 15 months - made by mainland dairy firm Yili - may contain the chemical melamine. At least four children have died after consuming tainted milk products, and the number of hospitalized cases has risen almost ninefold to 12,892, according to CCTV, the state broadcaster. Of these, 104 patients are in a serious condition.
A total of 39,965 children have visited clinics due to illness induced by the tainted products. Milk products made by Sanlu, the company first exposed in the scandal, are thought to be responsible for most of the hospitalizations so far. However, a further 21 Chinese dairy producers have been implicated, including the three largest: Yili, China Mengniu and Bright Dairy & Food.
The scandal was brought to light on Sept. 11 when the Beijing-based Ministry of Health said it found melamine in baby formula made by Sanlu Group Co., 43 percent owned by Auckland, New Zealand-based Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd.
Chinese quality-supervision authorities said on Sept. 19 that they had found melamine in 24 batches of liquid milk and yogurt. The Chinese and Hong Kong governments have set up telephone hotlines for distributing medical information to concerned parents and recalled milk products that tests show may contain melamine, a toxic chemical used for making plastics and tanning leather.
China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce had paid refunds for 304 tons of dairy products as of Sept. 20, according to Xinhua News Agency. In China, 39,965 children have visited clinics after falling ill from the powder, the official CCTV reported.
"Local commerce agencies should set up special quality supervision working groups and establish export-oriented product quality reporting system on those foods and goods that may affect consumers' health and safety," said the MOC in a notice on its website.
If serious export goods quality problems occur, local market watchdogs should report the issue to higher authorities without delaying. Manufacturers should be responsible for recalling all the problem products immediately, according to the ministry.