Thursday, October 23, 2008

China arrests 6 for role in contaminating milk

How many points in this story make no sense?...the over-under is 4...

BEIJING – China arrested three people Thursday for allegedly adding a toxic chemical to fresh milk to mask the fact that it was watered down and three others for selling the chemical.

The practice of adding melamine, a nitrogen-rich substance used in making plastics and fertilizers, to milk supplies is blamed for killing four babies in China and sickening tens of thousands.

The babies were sickened by powdered infant formula that authorities believe was made from tainted fresh milk. Melamine has also been found in other Chinese dairy products, including yogurt, candy and cream cookies.

More than 3,654 Chinese children remain hospitalized for kidney stones or other symptoms caused by ingesting melamine, the Health Ministry said Thursday. Three were in serious condition.

The official Xinhua News Agency said all six suspects arrested Thursday worked in Inner Mongolia, a region of sprawling grasslands that has become China's dairy heartland. Countless small dairy farms dot the grasslands, with milk collected at stations and then sold to large dairy companies.

One suspect, identified by Xinhua only by his surname Cui, ran a collection station and allegedly confessed to mixing about 25 gallons of water to 544 gallons of fresh milk. He then added 21 ounces — about three or four cups — of fake protein, which contained melamine, to hide the fact that it was diluted.

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