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China, Netherlands sign trade pacts, including deal on dairy co-operation

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - China and the Netherlands signed a trade pact Sunday pledging Dutch dairy expertise to help Chinese producers boost the quality and quantity of their milk. The deal signed at a ceremony at Prime Minister Mark Rutte's official residence in The Hague is another step by China to rehabilitate the reputation of its dairy industry in the aftermath of tainted milk product scandals.

China probes schools over unauthorized medicine for toddlers

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has launched a nationwide inspection of schools amid rising public anger at revelations that many educational institutions secretly gave children medicine to ward off illnesses and boost attendance, state media said on Friday. No deaths have been reported, but food and drug safety for toddlers is a highly sensitive issue in China after at least six children died and thousands were sickened in 2008 from drinking milk contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical.

China, Japan dumpling poisoner gets life

A Chinese court on Monday convicted a man of poisoning dumplings causing around 13 people in Japan and China to fall ill and sentenced him to life in prison, state-run media reported. Factory worker Lu Yueting was reported to have injected the dumplings with insecticide in 2008 as a protest against his employer over pay. A court in the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang sentenced Lu to life in prison for the crime of "insertion of dangerous substances", China's state broadcaster CCTV said.

One dead, seven injured by contaminated China parcels

A man was killed and seven others were injured in China after receiving parcels from a delivery company that had become contaminated with toxic chemicals, it was reported Saturday. The unnamed man, from China's eastern Shandong province, died after taking delivery of a box of shoes in late November which were tainted with methyl fluoroacetate, a highly toxic chemical, the Xinhua news agency reported citing the local post bureau.

Panama president apologizes over 2006 drug tragedy

Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli apologized Thursday to relatives and survivors of a 2006 mass-poisoning which claimed hundreds of lives. At least 400 people were killed after Barcelona-based Rasfer imported 2,300 gallons (9,000 liters) of glycerin from China, and then sent it on to Panama where it was used to make sugar-free syrup expectorant for hypertension and diabetes, widely distributed in the public health system. The syrup was contaminated with diethylene glycol, an industrial product not designed for human consumption.

New Zealand launches charm offensive to reassure Chinese milk buyers after botulism scare

BEIJING, China - New Zealand's leaders are on a charm offensive to reassure Chinese consumers after a botulism scare threatened sales in a major market for New Zealand milk. China's demand for imported milk soared after domestic supplies in 2008 killed six babies and sickened thousands. That fit New Zealand's ambitions as a food supplier to booming Asian economies. But the announcement by Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy exporter, of contamination in an ingredient used in baby formula threw up a potentially damaging obstacle.

New Zealand struggling to complete tainted milk recall

New Zealand was struggling to meet a self-imposed deadline to remove tainted baby formula from shelves worldwide Wednesday and end a botulism scare that has triggered global recalls. Both the government and dairy giant Fonterra said earlier this week they hoped to ensure the last of the contaminated formula was out of circulation by late Wednesday, but ministers have since warned they can offer no guarantees.

Poisoned dumpling trial starts in China

A Chinese man went on trial Tuesday for poisoning frozen dumplings which were exported to Japan and sickened 10 people there, state media reported, in a case that raised tensions between Beijing and Tokyo. Factory worker Lu Yueting was said to have injected pesticide into the dumplings because he was unhappy with his pay and did not get on with his co-workers at the Tianyang Food Plant in the northern province of Hebei.

French milk brand sets up in China to woo worried parents

French milk brand Candia announced Monday it was setting up shop in China in a bid to ride on the wave of booming demand for foreign baby formula following a succession of food safety scares. Chinese parents have become distrustful of domestic milk brands, particularly after a huge 2008 scandal involving formula tainted with melamine that killed six children and sickened 300,000 others. Foreign brands have benefitted as parents choose to buy non-domestic products, driven by the belief they are of better quality.

Nestle says it will cut infant formula prices in China after price-fixing probe announced

BEIJING, China - Nestle SA says it will cut infant formula prices in China by an average of 11 per cent starting Monday in response to an investigation into alleged price-fixing by several foreign companies. The price cuts by the company's Wyeth Nutrition unit will be maintained through 2014, and the prices of some products will be cut by up to 20 per cent, Nestle spokesman Jonathan Dong said in an email Thursday.
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