Japanese dairy goods producer Snow Brand Milk Products Co Ltd said on Monday it will close a total of five domestic milk plants as it tries to rebuild its business following a tainted milk scandal last year, Reuters reports. The five plants to be closed include its facility in Osaka, which the company had already said would shut down on January 31. Last year bacteria-laced powdered skimmed milk used at the Osaka plant to make milk products was the direct source of the food poisoning outbreak that left more than 14,000 people ill. The temporary closure of all 21 of Snow Brand's domestic plants followed. The company said its sales had been edging up since July, but in December still stood 65.3 percent of year-ago levels. The move to close five plants, followed by a shift of production to existing facilities, is a bid to restore the company to profit for profit for the business year to March 2003.