BEIJING (Reuters) – Hong Kong has ordered the recall of a Chinese company’s products after milk, ice cream and yogurt were found to be contaminated with melamine, the compound responsible for killing four children in a China health scandal.
Tainted milk powder produced in China has made thousands ill, and triggered sackings and detentions and rocked public trust already battered by a litany of food safety scares involving tainted eggs, pork and seafood in recent years.
Now the scandal has spread to milk, ice-cream and yoghurt ice-bars. Hong Kong ordered the recall of a Chinese company’s products on Thursday after tests found that eight of 30 of its products, including milk drinks, were tainted with melamine.
The company, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd, was a Beijing Olympic Games sponsor and is one of 22 Chinese firms implicated in the scandal.
A regional Chinese health authority said on Thursday a fourth child had died at a hospital in remote northwestern Xinjiang. The report on the authority’s website (www.xjwst.gov.cn) gave no further details.
Milk tainted with melamine, a compound banned in food, has killed three other babies, two in China’s northwestern Gansu province and one in eastern Zhejiang.
The health scare erupted after Sanlu Group last week revealed it had produced and sold melamine-laced milk, and a subsequent probe found a fifth of 109 Chinese dairy producers made adulterated products with the substance.
At the latest count, 6,244 children have become ill with kidney stones after drinking powdered milk laced with melamine, with three deaths and 158 suffering “acute kidney failure.”
“It’s just a terrible situation, it’s really scary,” said a 34-year-old father surnamed Zhou, cradling one of his eight-month twins outside a Beijing children’s hospital.
“You expect small brands to have quality issues, but these are big brands, name brands. The authorities need to improve their oversight,” said Zhou, queuing to have his children examined.