BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Milk powder producers will be monitored more strictly and companies with quality or safety problems will be severely punished, China's food safety authorities said Friday.
The China Food and Drug Administration (CSDA) said local supervisory bodies must take full responsibility for helping milk firms improve their safety and management.
The CSDA highlighted the need for quality and safety in baby formula production, adding that specialists will work with local authorities to make sure safety risks are eliminated.
Public trust in domestic dairy companies was damaged in 2008, when melamine-tainted milk killed six infants and sickened thousands of others.
Reputation of foreign brands was also in question after New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra said this month that some of its whey protein produced in May 2012 was found to be contaminated with toxic bacteria. Products produced with the protein have been recalled in China and elsewhere.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, handed down record fines totaling 670 million yuan (108.65 million U.S. dollars) to six baby formula companies on the mainland following an anti-trust probe.
The six companies are Biostime, Mead Johnson, Dumex, Abbott, Friesland and Fonterra.