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China vows better food safety after baby milk scandal

China: China vowed Sunday to improve its food safety supervision after confirming 432 babies suffered kidney stones and at least one died after drinking contaminated milk powder.

An efficient system should be set up to combine efforts of various ministries and bring food safety supervision “to a new level,” Xinhua news agency reported, citing Health Minister Gao Qiang. Gao said Saturday that kidney stones had been found in 432 babies nationwide since China was rattled by its most recent product safety scandal.

The number was sharply up from figures reported earlier which put the number of affected babies at about 150, with one dead. Kidney stones are rare in babies and can block their urinary tracts.

The figure was likely to rise further with the Beijing Evening News reporting Sunday that six more babies had been admitted to hospital with kidney stones.

The State Administration of Industry and Commerce, an agency in charge of enforcing discipline in the marketplace, issued a strongly worded statement calling for thorough inspections of sales outlets for baby milk powder.

“We require further strengthening of supervision and management of the market for baby milk powder,” the administration said in the statement, posted on the Chinese government’s website www.gov.cn.

“We will strike hard against the illegal practice of selling fake milk powder,” it said.

Shops across China, including global retailing giants Wal-Mart and Carrefour, pulled the milk powder from their shelves Friday after Sanlu Group, the company at the heart of the case, issued a nationwide recall.

Beijing, Sunday, AFP

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