Chinese premier vows closer monitoring of baby formula safety, says it affects nation's future

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has vowed to increase monitoring of production of milk powder for babies and crack down on safety violators, saying the quality of infant formula affects the nation's future.

Li's comments appeared aimed at trying to restore public confidence in China's dairy industry, which has been mired in product safety and image problems.

Li told a meeting of Cabinet officials Friday that the quality of infant formula should be tested with the same standards used for medicines and that each step of the production process must be monitored.

Concerns about the safety of domestic milk powder has fueled Chinese demand for foreign-made infant formula, leading to bulk-buying in Hong Kong, Britain and some other countries.

Melamine-tainted milk formula killed at least six babies in 2008.