Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Melamine for Pigs in Chongqing

Cartoon that appeared with a news report. The bottle reads "melamine milk powder"

Law enforcement officials in the Nan'an District of Chongqing announced that a 38-year-old feed trader named Tang has been arrested for allegedly selling milk powder that contained melamine that far exceeded the legal limit.

According to the report in the Chongqing Evening News, for the last 2 years Mr. Tang had been engaged in procuring milk powder from various places such as Guangdong and Zhejiang to sell to feed mills in Chongqing and Chengdu.

The report says the business started in August 2009, when Tang went to a county near Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province to purchase milk powder. He spent 14,000 yuan buying up 6.75 metric tons of milk powder on that first deal, planning to sell most of it in Chongqing and some in Chengdu.

Tang allegedly struck up a business relaionship with a counterpart named Zhang in Chongqing in 2009, doing 5 or 6 deals over the last two years. Zhang would receive the milk powder, store it in a warehouse in Chongqing's Nan'an District, pack it into smaller bags and sell it to local pig farms.

The last shipment of 5 metric tons received from Tang was so cheap, Zhang suspected it might have a problem. He had it tested and results showed melamine content was far over legal limits. After alerting police, the local veterinary testing center tested three samples and found concentrations of 1288 mg/kg, 992 mg/kg, and 623 mg/kg, hundreds of times above the allowable limit of 2.5 mg/kg.

Zhang had sold about 5 metric tons of the milk powder to five local pig farms. A farm boss confirmed this. He said piglets had developed diarrhea after consuming the milk powder. They suspected the milk powder was the cause, and the pigs returned to normal after they stopped giving them the milk powder.

[I thought melamine caused kidney problems.]

A Chongqing agriculture commission official said farms mix milk powder into feed when sows are not giving enough milk to nourish piglets.

Meanwhile, officials are still trying to purge the milk supply of melamine. Last month, a court in Xushui County of Hebei Province sentenced four individuals associated with a dairy company that sold melamine-adulterated milk powder until last year.

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