China says govt must share blame for milk scandal

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said his government must assume some responsibility for the latest milk powder scandal in which at least four infants have died and tens of thousands fallen ill.

Many Chinese milk companies were implicated and a few of them apologized this week for their involvement in the latest in a grim series of food- and product-safety scandals to blight the “made in China” brand.

China’s Health Ministry said 5,824 infants were still being treated and six were in serious condition.

“We feel that although problems occurred at the company, the government also has a responsibility,” Wen told the magazine Science.

“The important steps in making milk products — production of raw milk, collection, transportation, processing and making formula — all need to have clear standards and testing requirements.”

Thousands of children were admitted to hospital with kidney problems months after consuming milk that had been mixed with melamine, a plastic-making compound used to cheat quality tests.

The national quality watchdog’s chief inspection official, Xiang Yuzhang, said last month the problem had been brought under control “more or less.”

(Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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