Tonnes of milk powder tainted with chemical melamine had ended up in farms in China's Chongqing as pig feed for piglets, according to reports.
Law enforcement officials in the Nan'an District of Chongqing announced that a 38-year-old feed trader named Tang has been arrested for allegedly selling milk powder that contained melamine that far exceeded the legal limit.
Tang was found to have sold five tonnes of expired milk powder to a feed dealer surnamed Zhang from Chongqing, and another 1.75 tonnes to a dealer in Chengdu. From these sales, 2.5 tonnes milk powder arrived at five pig farms in Wanzhou district and Dianjiang county of Chongqing Municipality, according to a procurator in charge of the case.
New-born piglets showed symptoms of loose bowels after eating the milk powder. A Chongqing agriculture commission official said farms mix milk powder into feed when sows are not giving enough milk to nourish piglets.
The batch of milk powder was found to contain excessive levels of melamine, a toxic chemical normally used in the manufacture of plastics. Tests of samples of the milk powder revealed a presence of the chemical of up to 515 times the maximum allowed amount.
The suspects involved in the case have been detained.
The 2008 melamine-tainted baby formula scandal triggered the government to declare food safety a national priority. Nationwide outrage erupted after melamine-tainted dairy products caused sickness in 300,000 infants and killed six, who died of kidney stones and other kidney damage.