Following the complaints, the health authorities tracked the formula down to a batch produced by the Guiyang Sanlian Milk Company between 1-2 April. The comapny was accused of repackaging old milk powder, which had exceeded its sell by date, in an effort to keep the product in circulation.
According to a report from the Xinhua News Agency, the company was fined €20,000 and has also had its licence taken away. The news has been well received by other baby food manufacturers, who say the action is a positive step towards assuring the future reputation of baby formula manufacturers.
According to reports, over 150 babies and young children were affected after drinking the formula. Two kindergartens were worst affected, with many toddlers having to be hospitalised with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.
The health authorities said that the milk powder contained a toxin created by the golden staphylococcus bacteria. This strain is known to cause extreme cases of food poisoning and can even lead to death in those individuals with weakened immune systems.
The recall brings to light increasing concerns over how food manufacturers in China can sometimes put profits over and above the safety of consumers. Only two months ago, a scandal in Anhui province came to light in which babies were being fed fake milk formula which was shown to have very limited nutritional content. This led to a number of cases of malnutrition and is believed to have led to the deaths of at least 12 babies.
In light of this, and the most recent case in Guizho province, many industry observers are starting to point the finger at local corruption. Allegations have been made that in both of these cases local officials knew about what was going on but chose to do nothing about it.