At Least Nine Countries Ban Chinese Dairy Imports After Tainted Milk Kills Four Babies
At least nine countries — as far away as
Several more countries, from
The scare has been most acutely felt in Asia, where worried
parents on Tuesday rushed their children to hospitals for health checkups after
"I'm still worried about my child," said Mary Yu,
As the reports of sick babies multiplied — with at least five reported outside the mainland in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau — even countries that don't import Chinese dairy began sounding alarms.
The European Union, for instance, urged customs authorities on Monday to step up checks on imports of "composite products," such as bread or chocolate, to ensure they contain no traces of contaminated milk.
The crisis was initially thought to have been limited to Chinese milk powder laced with
melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer that can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure.
But recent testing found melamine in samples of liquid milk taken from 22 Chinese companies — including the country's two largest dairy producers, Mengniu Dairy Group Co. and Yili Industrial Group Co. — and prompted nationwide recalls of milk and dairy products.
Growing public fears led some schools and stores to pull more products as a precaution. Even major international food makers such as Kraft Foods were hit by unconfirmed rumors of recalls of numerous snacks, including Oreo cookies and M&Ms.
Since the scandal broke earlier this month,
As import bans continued to crop up, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday that the tainted infant formula at the heart of the scandal might be smuggled across borders.
"I think the greatest fear is if there has been illegal movement of the heavily contaminated products rather than the legal movement of products that may have very low levels of melamine," said Anthony Hazzard, the Western Pacific director of the World Health Organization.
But most consumers and regulators were focusing on legal imports.
A major Japanese food maker, Marudai Food Co., pulled its cream buns, meat buns, and creamed corn crepes from supermarkets, but was still conducting tests to determine whether its products were contaminated.
Australian regulators said that while no milk products from
With consumer confidence shaken, international food makers said their products were safe.
After reports that a 16-month old in
Switzerland-based Nestle said in a statement Tuesday that
its milk products sold in
U.S.-based Kraft Foods Inc. issued a statement saying Oreo
products with milk do not contain any dairy from
A spokeswoman for Mars, maker of Snickers bars, M&M candies and other sweets, did not respond to requests for comment on rumors that several Mars products might face recalls. 9-23-08
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