China Mengniu Dairy Co, the country's largest dairy company has found excessive levels of a cancer-causing toxin in its milk, the latest in a series of tainted milk scandals that have hit China in recent years.
Mengniu Dairy was among the 22 other dailies in China involved in the melamine-contaminated infant milk scandal in 2008 that forced the head of China's quality department to resign (See: China's quality chief resigns over toxic baby-milk scandal).
The government's quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), on Saturday said that it conducted a random check of 200 dairy products in 21 provinces, and found two products, including one manufactured by Mengniu, to contain excessive aflatoxin - a substance that can cause liver cancer.
The Inner Mongolia-based dairy producer said on Sunday that the milk, produced at one of its plants in Meishan, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, was tested by AQSIQ testers before being sold and destroyed before reaching the market.
"Mengniu would like to express our sincere apologies to consumers," the company said in a statement, adding, "We will draw a big lesson from this incident and will work harder to meet all national and corporate standards on quality in the future,"
According to the test result published on the general administration website, government testers found 1.2 micrograms of the toxic substance in a 250-ml pack of pure milk produced by Mengniu on 18 December, while the national standard allowed a maximum of 0.5 micrograms carcinogenic content in a kg of milk.