Chinese mayor sacked over baby food scandal

September 18th, 2008 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Sep 18 (Xinhua) China Thursday sacked the mayor of the northern city of Shijiazhuang, the base of the company which marketed contaminated baby food that led to the death of three infants and made more than 6,000 ill. Ji Chuntang’s dismissal from office, the fifth in the fallout of the baby food scandal, was announced at the provincial legislature, a day after Ji was removed from his post as vice secretary of the Shijiazhuang Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Authorities said dairy product giant Sanlu group, based in Shijiazhuang, knew that the baby food it marketed was contaminated with highly toxic industrial chemical melamine.

Melamine, high in nitrogen, is used to make plastics and fertilizers. But in the past, some Chinese farmers have used the additive to artificially increase protein levels.

Four officials in Shijiazhuang had been dismissed before Ji Chuntang. They included vice mayor in charge of agricultural production, head of animal husbandry and fishery bureau, director of food and drug administration and head of quality supervision bureau.

The police have so far arrested 18 suspects in connection with the scandal. Six of them allegedly sold melamine to milk dealers, while the other 12 were milk dealers who added the chemical to milk and sold it to dairy product companies.

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