September 26, 2008

China’s Tainted Milk Crisis Triggers Global Recalls

By The Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) - An industrial chemical that made its way into China's dairy supplies and that authorities blame in the deaths 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 might 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and European consumer safety officials urged Beijing to better enforce safety standards.Tesco said that it had withdrawn White Rabbit Creamy Candies off its shelves as a precaution. The candies had been sold in a small number of Tesco's British stores.New Zealand's Food Safety Authority recalled White Rabbit candies after tests showed they contained dangerously high levels of melamine and advised people not to eat them."This product contains sufficiently high levels of melamine which may, in some individuals, cause health problems such as kidney stones," deputy chief executive of the authority, Sandra Daly, said in a statement.

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