Police in Shanghai have arrested 19 people suspected of repackaging more than 200 tons of expired New Zealand-made Fonterra milk powder to sell on the market.
Shanghai's food safety regulator and police force announced on Sunday that the suspects, operating under Shanghai-registered trading firm Jiang Di International Trade Co., Ltd, repackaged 276 tons of expired milk powder into smaller portions, before selling them online or through retailers in several provinces for lower prices.
Police were alerted in March after they discovered the repackaged products in a raid on a Shanghai retailer's warehouse. Subsequent raids confiscated 109.2 tons of the expired milk powder from Jiang Di's warehouse. The other 166.8 tons had been sold to retailers.
Authorities said they were pursuing the dairy products in question that had entered the market and ordered the closure of the retailers' online shops.
There have not yet been any reports of health problems from people who consumed the expired milk powder.
An initial investigation has showed that the group's motive was to recoup losses from the imported food that had gone unsold beyond the expiration date.