China has announced a new survey of dairy products that found no melamine and is promising to subsidise farmers hit by the tainted milk scare.

The government is struggling to contain the fall-out from the scandal,

The latest test of 609 batches of liquid milk from 27 cities across China detected no melamine, the industrial chemical at the centre of the dairy scare, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

Altogether 75 brands were sampled for the test, including prominent ones such as Yili, Mengniu and Bright Dairy, the paper said, citing the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

It was the sixth test in China since the milk scare broke out last month.

Melamine, which has been detected in a range of China-made milk products, is blamed for the deaths of four Chinese children and for sickening 53,000.

The chemical is used to produce plastic, but when mixed with watered-down milk it makes it appear richer in protein than it actually is.

Suspicions about where in the supply system the melamine was added have centred on milk-collecting stations, which are scattered across the countryside in the thousands.

They are relatively new players in the dairy industry and therefore their business, buying milk from individual farmers, has so far been under very limited official supervision.

However, since the scandal erupted the agriculture ministry has dispatched 152,000 officials and investigated nearly 19,000 milk-collecting stations.

Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry said on its website late Saturday that it was supervising a campaign to subsidise dairy farmers badly hit by the crisis.

Farmers had been dumping raw milk as daily reports of the toxic contents of some dairy products had caused demand to shrink precipitously, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it had achieved some success in restoring confidence, citing 14 local governments that had come up with policies to stabilise the dairy industry.

While China was seeking to repair the damage at home, the wave of recalls rolled on abroad.

Guyana yesterday became the second Caribbean Community member, after Surinam, to pull Chinese dairy products off the market.

Also on Saturday, South Korea ordered Mars and Nestle to pull three products after melamine was detected in snacks made in China by the multinationals.

A fourth Chinese milk product was withdrawn from sale in Australia after tests revealed it was tainted with melamine, Food Standards Australia New Zealand said in a statement.

A Japanese importer, meanwhile, began recalling Chinese chocolates suspected of being contaminated with melamine.

The EU recently banned all imports on Chinese milk-related products for children such as biscuits and chocolate on top of a long-standing embargo on Chinese dairy products like milk and yoghurt.