10,000 Chinese children still sick from milk
(Associated Press –
By GILLIAN WONG
The Health Ministry said in a statement on its Web site Wednesday that 10,666 children were in hospitals after drinking milk powder contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, which can lead to kidney stones and possibly life-threatening kidney failure.
No new deaths have been recorded, it said. The scandal has
so far been blamed for the deaths of four babies and the sickening of about
54,000 others in
But the effects of the scandal continue to be felt,
forcing the government to deal with festering health and public relations
Also on Thursday, Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety said
in a statement it found melamine in EDO Pack Almond Cacao Biscuit Sticks
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said at a
meeting of health ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Dairy suppliers have been accused of adding melamine _ used in products including plastics, paint and adhesives _ to watered-down milk to make the product appear rich in protein and fool quality control tests.
There had been no standards for the amount of the chemical allowed in food products.
Under Health Ministry guidelines released Wednesday, melamine is now limited to one part per million for infant formula and 2.5 parts per million for liquid milk, milk powder and food products that contain more than 15 percent milk.
Wang Xuening, a ministry official, acknowledged that small amounts of melamine can leech from the environment and packaging into milk and other foods, but said deliberate tainting was forbidden.
Levels of melamine discovered in batches of milk powder recently registered as much as 6,196 parts per million.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says its experts have concluded that eating 2.5 parts per million of melamine _ a minuscule amount _ would not raise health risks, even if a person ate food every day that contained it.
Guidelines in Hong Kong and New Zealand say melamine in food products is considered safe at 2.5 parts per million or less, though Hong Kong has lowered the level for children under 3 and pregnant or lactating women to one part per million.
The Finance Ministry said Thursday the government has allocated $44 million to help dairy farmers who have been hurt by declining demand for milk. Many farmers have been tossing out raw milk as they are squeezed by feed costs they cannot recoup. 10-09-08
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