Shops warned about White Rabbit lollies

PAUL BIBBY

25/09/2008 12:00:01 AM

 

Source of Article: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/shops-warned-about-white-rabbit-lollies/1282102.aspx

THE NSW Food Authority is calling on wholesalers and retailers to remove White Rabbit Creamy Candies milk-based lollies from shops after testing revealed the product contained the chemical responsible for putting thousands of Chinese children in hospital.

Tests carried out in New Zealand on the lollies had found sufficiently high levels of the artificial protein enhancer melamine to cause serious health problems such as kidney stones if large quantities are eaten. Results from Australian tests on the lollies are not due until next week.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand yesterday warned people against eating the product, which is sold by the bag at dozens of Asian supermarkets, retailers and restaurants across Sydney.

A Food Standards spokeswoman, Lydia Buchtmann, said the quantity of melamine found was 180 parts per million, enough to cause health problems if consumed in large quantities but "not from just a few lollies".

"A couple is fine - it's the cumulative effect that could cause problems," she said.

She said staff from the NSW authority had begun calling the importers and wholesalers of the lollies to find out how widely the product had been distributed.

NSW Health said melamine poisoning resulted in sufferers becoming lethargic and generally unwell as their renal function became impaired, with tests needed to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

In China four children died and 53,000 have been put in hospital after taking baby formula which had large quantities of melamine, used to provide an artificially high protein reading during testing.

Food Standards issued a statement earlier this week to try to damp down concerns over the presence of Chinese dairy products in Australia, saying "Australia has not received any imports of dairy products from China this year". The Australian Quarantine Service said Australia "imports very little milk product from China".

However, on Tuesday the Herald found more than five Chinese products with milk powder or dairy-based products, including the White Rabbit lollies, at a Chinese supermarket. The shop's owner said they had arrived in the past two or three months.

The quarantine service said food imported from China would be referred for testing "depending on the risk status of the food as determined by Food Standards Australia New Zealand". But there is no requirement for food to be tested for melamine.

with Jonathan Dart

 

 SMH 

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