Wednesday, October 15, 2008
BEIJING: The Chinese government ordered a recall on Tuesday of all milk products produced before Sept. 14 that are still on the shelves so the products can be tested for the toxic chemical melamine.
Melamine, a substance illicitly added to watered-down milk to artificially give its protein count a boost, has led to the deaths of at least three babies; at least 53,000 other children have fallen ill. Those statistics are weeks old, though, and the government has yet to release updated numbers, which are believed to be much higher.
The government announced limits for allowable traces of melamine last week. If the recalled products meet the new standards, they will be put back on the market, the government said. Dairy products thought to have a real risk of melamine contamination were already recalled weeks ago, right after the milk crisis first emerged. The recall announced Tuesday was an effort by the government to show the public that it was enforcing its new trace melamine limits.
Meanwhile, a lawyer based in Shanghai has filed a lawsuit in the northwestern Gansu Province on behalf of a family whose 6-month-old son, Yi Kaixuan, died in May after drinking tainted baby formula. A handful of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of parents whose children have died or fallen ill from drinking tainted dairy products, but so far no court has accepted a case.
Separately, the Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration announced last Thursday that the brand of herbal drug suspected of killing three people recently was "tainted with bacteria," Xinhua, the state news agency, reported. The drug, Siberian ginseng or ciwujia, was made by Wandashan Pharmaceutical, based in northeastern China.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
BANGKOK: Thailand's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday it had found "very high" levels of melamine in a sample of unsweetened condensed milk produced and sold in the country.
The FDA ordered Thai Dairy Industry Co. Ltd. to stop production of "Mali" unsweetened condensed milk and requested retailers pull it from their shelves.
Tests found 92.82 milligrams per kilogram of melamine in a 385 gram can of milk, "which is very high," the agency said in a statement.
Thai Dairy Industry Co. Ltd. is a joint venture between Thai and Malaysian businessmen and the Australian Dairy Corp, according to the company's website, www.thaidairy.co.th.
The FDA said the company had told the agency that the raw materials used to make Mali condensed milk were imported from several countries, including Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and India.
Thailand is the latest country to find traces of melamine in a widening health scandal after the industrial chemical was found in milk and milk formula in China.
The FDA said it was conducting more tests of Thai Dairy Industry's products and ordered a recall of "the suspected product and others using the same raw material."
Tuesday, Thai restaurant and bakery S&P withdrew a line of milk cookies sold in Thailand after reports that Swiss officials had found traces of melamine in the biscuits.
Thai newspapers reported that Swiss authorities had pulled the S&P milk cookies, as well as other products from China and Sri Lanka, after tests showed they were tainted by melamine.
S&P said it only used milk powder imported from Australia and condensed milk from a Thai milk producer to make its cookies.
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