News of the contamination first began with reports that dozens of babies in Gansu province had developed kidney stones after drinking milk formula. So far, the contaminated products have killed at least three infants and has left more than 6,000 ill.
Eight of the 30 dairy products that were tested by an independent food watchdog in Hong Kong contained traces of the chemical melamine, normally used in plastics.
Subsequent tests have found melamine in batches at 22 of China’s 109 milk powder manufacturers, including its two biggest dairies, Mengniu and Yili Industrial Group.
Constance Chan, the controller of Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety, told Reuters: “We’re recalling the Yili products and the importer is also recalling all Yili products from the Yili brand. That would involve milk, milk beverages, yogurt, ice cream and ice bar.”
China had previously identified melamine only in milk powder. The chemical is banned from use in food, but adding it to watered-down milk makes it appear higher in protein when tested.
According to Stockholm News, Arla Foods owns 49% of the stocks in Mengniu Dairy. The official Arla website states: “The authorities’ conclusions so far are that the chemical was added to the milk at the many milk collection depots, which are independent of the dairies.”
“The situation is extremely distressing for all the families who need milk of the highest quality to feed their children,” said CEO Peder Tuborgh, Arla Foods. “It’s extremely important that we get to the bottom of the problem so that consumers’ safety can be guaranteed … Together with Mengniu and the authorities, we’re doing everything we can to safeguard quality.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019