8 Apr 2011

Nitrate-tainted milk kills 3 in China

8:18 pm on 8 April 2011

Three children have died and 35 people have become ill from drinking nitrite-tainted milk in China's northwestern Gansu province in the country's latest dairy scandal.

Nitrite is used for curing meat.

The Xinhua news agency reported most of the 35 who became sick are children under 14. They are being treated at hospitals in Pingliang city.

Xinhua says an initial investigation shows they all drank bulk milk from two local dairy farms. The farms have been sealed off and their managers are being investigated.

In 2008, at least six babies died in China and 50,000 were hospitalised by baby milk formula that was deliberately contaminated with melamine.

The milk powder was produced by Sanlu, a partner of New Zealand dairy cooperattive Fonterra.