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Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tainted milk crisis triggers global recalls

September 25, 2008

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— An industrial chemical that made its way into China's dairy supplies and that authorities blame in the death of four babies has turned up in numerous Chinese-made exports abroad - from candies to yogurt to rice balls.

British supermarket chain Tesco removed Chinese-made White Rabbit Creamy Candies off its shelves as a precaution amid reports that samples of the milk candy in Singapore and New Zealand had tested positive for melamine - an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer.

Chinese baby formula tainted with the chemical has been blamed for the deaths of four infants and the illnesses of 53,000 others in China.

Health experts say ingesting a small amount of the chemical poses no danger, but melamine can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly vulnerable.

More than a dozen countries have banned or recalled Chinese dairy products - the latest was France, which does not import Chinese dairy products but has halted imports of Chinese biscuits, candy or other foods that could contain Chinese dairy derivatives.

The government described the measure as a precaution.

Indonesia on Wednesday also distributed a list of 28 products that it said may contain tainted Chinese milk, including Oreo cookies, Snickers bars and M&M chocolate candies.

U.S. and European consumer safety officials urged Beijing to better enforce product safety standards.

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