Last updated on: 1/5/2009 | Author:

Melamine Contamination in Chinese Milk

Don Lee, MA, Los Angeles Times Shanghai Bureau Chief, wrote in a Sep. 19, 2008 article titled “Chinese Parents Scramble to Hospitals Amid Milk Crisis,” published in the Los Angeles Times:

“Anguished, despairing parents crowded the halls of hospitals with their children across China this week after many brands of baby formula were found to be tainted with the industrial chemical melamine…

The government said Thursday that a fourth baby, in the far west Xinjiang region, had died after ingesting powdered milk made by the Sanlu Group, the focus of what has become a national crisis. As of Wednesday, reports showed that more than 6,200 infants were ill, with 158 suffering from acute kidney failure, according to China’s health minister. And those numbers were certain to rise as more children are taken to hospitals.

As the crisis rapidly spread, Hong Kong officials Thursday issued a recall of mainland Chinese-produced milk, yogurt and ice cream tainted with melamine. New tests found melamine in liquid milk from China’s leading dairy producers, including Mengniu, Yili and Guangming…

Officials have said baby formula made by 22 dairy producers, including the leading domestic brands, tested positive for melamine, the same chemical that was found in pet food ingredients from China that killed many dogs and cats in the U.S. last year.”

Sep. 19, 2008 Don Lee  

The New York Times reported in a Sep. 19, 2008 editorial titled “China’s Baby Formula Scandal” that:

“The tainted milk powder has killed several babies in China and injured more than 6,000 others, many with kidney stones or kidney failure…

The powdered formula has not been approved for import into the United States, so it poses no major threat here. But it is conceivable that limited amounts could have found their way into specialty markets.

The formula contains a dangerous chemical additive known as melamine — the same additive that sickened thousands of American dogs and cats last year. The best guess is that milk dealers eager to cut costs diluted their milk with water, then added the melamine to inflate the protein readings on a common industrial test…

Investigators have now found melamine in infant milk powder produced by more than 20 companies, including some of China’s biggest dairy companies, and in other dairy products…”

Sep. 19, 2008 New York Times   

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