Beijing, Sept 13 : Unlawful dairy farmers supplying defective fresh milk are to blame for the contamination of the milk powder from Sanlu Group that has caused the death of one Chinese baby and kidney stones in about 140 others.
According to the China Daily, an announcement from the government of Shijiazhuang, where Sanlu is based, said an initial investigation had shown some milk providers had added an industrial contaminant, melamine, to diluted milk to boost their profits.
Su Changsheng, director of Sanlu's brand management department, on Friday denied that the contamination had occurred in production.
"The problem is from the very source of the milk," he said, and added, "There are no requirements or standards for testing for melamine in milk."
In March, Sanlu began receiving complaints from customers, who said their babies' urine was discolored and that some had been hospitalized, the government said.
Last month, the company discovered that some unlawful farmers had added melamine to their fresh milk.
As of Wednesday, the company had sealed 2,176 tons of milk powder that might be contaminated and recalled 8,210 tons. About 700 tons are still on the market, according to reports.
As of Thursday, the Gansu health department had reported 59 infants suffering from kidney stones in the province, and one death. Similar cases were reported in 10 other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, with the total now at about 140.
Almost all of the affected babies are under 12 months old, from rural areas and had consumed Sanlu's milk powder.
Meanwhile on Friday, supermarkets and stores across the country began pulling the formula off their shelves.