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Chinese couple accused of deadly milk poisoning

12 april 2011, 13:06
Photo courtesy of article.wn.com
Photo courtesy of article.wn.com
A couple have been arrested in China accused of poisoning milk that killed three children and made 36 others ill, state media said, in a case that rekindled fears over Chinese food safety, AFP reports.

Investigators found that nitrite had been added to fresh milk from two dairies and police said that the incident was a case of intentional poisoning and had taken the man and woman into custody, Xinhua reported Sunday.

The suspects are from a village in Kongtong, in China's northwestern Gansu province, said Wu Zhentu, a spokesman for the city government.

A preliminary investigation showed that the victims in the city of Pingliang suffered nitrite poisoning after drinking milk, a local government statement had said, adding that the infants -- all aged under two -- died on Thursday.

Wu did not disclose a suspected motive for the crime, but the report said villagers near the farms cited competition among farm owners as a possible reason.

The case is another black eye for China's scandal-prone food industry and its government regulators, who are still struggling to lay to rest a huge 2008 tainted-milk scandal that killed at least six babies and sickened 300,000.

Nitrite is a chemical used to make dyes and to preserve meats. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nitrite poisoning can result in nausea, dizziness, respiratory distress, loss of consciousness and seizures.

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