Processing Magazine

Chinese tainted milk scandal fans fear across Asia

September 24, 2008

China''s milk scandal fanned fears across Asia as countries expanded bans on Chinese dairy products to include candy and other goods and worried parents rushed their children to hospitals for health checkups, as reported by the Associated Press. From Japan to Thailand, reports spread of cookies, ice cream and even meat buns that might have been contaminated with tainted milk products blamed for least four infant deaths in China. Another 53,000 others have fallen ill. The widening health scare led many schools and stores to pull more products out of precaution. The crisis was initially thought to have been contained 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. Other countries -- including Singapore, Taiwan, Brunei, Hong Kong, Vietnam and the Philippines -- followed suit in recent days with their own bans and restrictions on foods with Chinese dairy. The limits covered everything from yogurt bars to strawberry milk, biscuits and candy. Bangladesh even ordered testing of powder milk imported from countries known for tighter government regulations such as Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark.