Nineteen people have been arrested in Shanghai for trying to sell nearly 300 tonnes of expired milk powder, according to the city’s food watchdog.
It is the latest food scandal in China concerning dairy products.
The suspects in Shanghai are accused of repackaging 276 tonnes of expired Fonterra milk powder produced in New Zealand into smaller packs to continue selling it and reduce their business losses, the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration said.
The suspects were operating under a Shanghai-registered trading firm Jiang Di International Trade.
About 166.8 tonnes of the products were sold through wholesalers and online shops, the administration said on its website.
The authorities discovered the production line in Shanghai in March and seized the remaining milk powder and repackaging equipment.
The authorities have shut down the online shops and have been trying to trace the expired products that had entered the market, the announcement said.
The mainland authorities have vowed to combat food safety violations, especially those concerning dairy products.
At least six children died in 2008 after watered-down milk was deliberately contaminated with the chemical melamine to fool tests and make it look like the produce was still high in protein.
Mainland police busted about 26,000 cases relating to food and drug safety cases last year and 37,000 suspects were arrested, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
The rapid development of e-commerce has created new problems in monitoring food and drug safety, the ministry said in March.