Thursday, September 25, 2008
List of Nations Banning Chinese Milk Products Grows
South Korea is the latest nation to ban imports of Chinese dairy products after discovering Chinese-made snacks contained a chemical that has sickened thousands of children who consumed contaminated milk.
The Korean Food and Drug Administration, KFDA, says tests on more than 100 products found the chemical melamine in two biscuit-type snacks. Officials ordered the products to be removed from store shelves and destroyed.
More than a dozen governments in Asia, Africa and Europe have either banned or recalled Chinese dairy products since the scandal broke two weeks ago. At least 53,000 children have been sickened from ingesting milk tainted with melamine. Four children have died, while nearly 13,000 others remain hospitalized.
The Chinese agriculture minister on Tuesday blamed so-called "milk stations," which collect milk from local farmers, for adding the substance to poor-quality milk to raise its protein content.
Indonesia released a list Wednesday of nearly 30 Chinese-made products it says could be contaminated, including such well-known U.S.-created brands as Oreo cookies, M&M chocolates and Snickers chocolate-covered peanut bars.
New Zealand authorities say they found the chemical melamine in a Chinese-made candy known as White Rabbit, prompting the British Tesco supermarket chain to pull the candies from the shelves.
A spokesman for the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that there have been no reports outside China and Hong Kong of infants getting sick from Chinese milk products.
Health experts say that ingesting small amounts does no harm but sustained use can cause kidney stones and renal failure, especially among the young.