China was fighting to maintain public confidence in its food safety after a massive stockpile of melamine-tainted milk powder was seized during raids on warehouses in the nation’s biggest city.
The seizures in Chongqing come three years after the 2008 Sanlu milk scandal, in which three babies died and 300,000 others were sickened by melamine-tainted milk in an episode that fatally undermined already fragile public trust in the government’s ability to keep food safe.
The discovery of the tainted milk powder, which was due to be made into pastry and ice-cream, has drawn attention to the inability of China’s government to police China’s vast and fragmented food chain.
In a bid to restore confidence, the city authorities in Chongqing, a municipal area with 35m inhabitants, have announced a 100-day crackdown on food and drug fraud in a mirror-image of a crackdown last year on mafia crime.
On Monday some 7,900 police in Chongqing were reportedly deployed to conduct city-wide raids on 600 premises suspected of producing illegal or fake food and pharmaceuticals.