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Author Topic: Baby Dies as New Milk Powder Scare Spreads Across China  (Read 3237 times)
skyjet
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« on: September 11, 2008, 12:45:59 AM »

Beijing, Sept 11

 - A health scare in China involving babies developing kidney stones after drinking possibly fake milk formula has spread across the country, state media said on Thursday.
 
One baby had died from kidney stones in northwest Gansu province, Xinhua quoted health officials as saying, but it was not clear if there was any link to milk powder in that case.

The health scare has revived memories of a grim scandal involving fake milk powder that killed at least 13 babies in eastern China in 2004.

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skyjet
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2008, 12:15:39 PM »

 China on Friday vowed to punish those responsible for contaminating baby milk powder that has killed one infant and sickened dozens, as it emerged the producer knew about the problem a month ago.

The health ministry said an initial investigation had confirmed the tainted milk powder was to blame for the nationwide spate of cases of kidney stones in babies, the state Xinhua news agency reported.

Investigators also found the producer of the formula, Sanlu, knew it was contaminated with melamine in August, but did not release the information until after reports of sick babies began to emerge this week, the ministry said.
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skyjet
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 01:30:05 AM »

 BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) --

The number of infants infected with kidney stones caused by contaminated milk powders had soared to about 1,253 with two dead as of 8 a.m. Monday, said the Ministry of Health here on Monday.
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skyjet
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 11:42:50 PM »

China said on Wednesday a third infant had died from drinking milk contaminated with toxic melamine and 6,244 infants were sick as four officials were sacked amid a widening scandal.

The number of infants diagnosed with "acute kidney failure" had risen to 158, Health Minister Chen Zhu told a news conference carried live on state television.

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skyjet
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2008, 11:55:06 PM »

The manufacturer at the centre of the crisis, state-owned Sanlu Group Co., announced last week that it was sealing off 2,000 tonnes of contaminated milk powder and initiating a recall. The question is why it took so long for it to sound the alarm.

Its New Zealand partner, Fonterra, said it knew about the problem a month and a half earlier. Prime Minister Helen Clark said Fonterra tried for weeks to get an official recall, but "the local authorities in China would not do it." Finally, last week, New Zealand "blew the whistle in Beijing" and "a very heavy hand then descended on the local authorities."
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Zedi
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2008, 04:13:36 AM »

You dont think it had anything to do with the Olympics ?

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skyjet
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 11:42:44 PM »

what 'no news is good news'
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Zedi
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2008, 11:46:25 PM »

Why do so many use milk powder anyway ?
They are producing tonnes of the stuff.
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skyjet
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2008, 11:52:19 PM »

Experts have long recognised that breastfeeding is by far the best choice, by boosting, for example, baby immune systems. The UN's Children's Fund (UNICEF) says it can dramatically cut child deaths in developing countries, and is a big supporter.

Because of work reasons, they often don't have enough milk of their own, so in our country the proportion of children fed baby formula is quite big," Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu told a news conference on Wednesday. China's breastfeeding rate is around 70 per cent, and the government admits promotion efforts lag.
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skyjet
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2008, 11:58:25 PM »

Posted: 22 September 2008

BEIJING: China's toxic milk scandal escalated Monday as officials admitted nearly 53,000 children had been sickened by contaminated products and more countries moved to ban or limit Chinese dairy imports.

The scandal stems from the practice of adding melamine to watered-down milk to give it the appearance of higher protein levels.

Most had "basically recovered" but 12,892 of them remained in hospital, a health ministry official told AFP.

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Zedi
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2008, 11:54:04 PM »

September 28, 2008 11:14 PM

HONG KONG (AP) - The Hong Kong government says British sweet maker Cadbury is recalling its Chinese-made chocolates as a precaution.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement Monday that Cadbury Asia Pacific informed its Center for Food Safety that it would recall 11 types of chocolates made in its factory in the Chinese capital Beijing.

It was not immediately clear if tests found the industrial chemical melamine in the products.

China's recent food safety scandal started with the discovery of melamine in baby milk powder.

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Zedi
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2008, 11:34:08 PM »

30 Sep 2008, 1039 hrs IST,AFP

BEIJING: Police in northern China have arrested 27 people in their probe into tainted milk that has sickened 53,000 children and embarrassed China's reputation abroad, state media reported on Tuesday.

The Xinhua news agency has reported 22 detentions by Monday, and said they were involved in a network that made and sold melamine and added it to milk.

Four children so far have died after drinking milk tainted with melamine, which can make watered-down milk appear richer in protein.

According to police investigations in Hebei, where Sanlu is headquartered, the melamine was produced at underground plants and sold to breeding farms and purchasing stations, the China Daily reported on Tuesday.

It said Chinese officials, learning that the purchasing stations were among the key links in how the contaminated milk spread, have kicked off a national campaign to overhaul the system.

Altogether, 31 provinces have set up special task forces to supervise the purchasing centres and implement more standardised practices, the paper said.
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Zedi
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2008, 12:03:31 AM »

BEIJING, China (AP)


 A lawyer says the parents of a baby allegedly sickened by tainted infant formula are suing the dairy at the heart of China's contaminated milk scandal, as 15 more companies were accused of producing spiked products.

 
Chinese food safety personnel check the fresh milk at a milk collection station in Chengdu, China, Sunday.

 1 of 3  Lawyer Ji Cheng says although product liability lawsuits have become more common in recent years, he would not know until next week if the court in Henan province would take the case.

From the time of birth, the 1-year-old in central China's Henan province was fed infant formula made by Sanlu Group Co., according to a report by Caijing, a leading Chinese business magazine.

One of the child's parents, surnamed Sun, filed a lawsuit in a court in Zhenping county seeking $22,000.

Lawyers said they had not heard of any other civil lawsuits being filed in response to the melamine contamination of liquid milk, yogurt and other products made with milk. Four infants died and more than 50,000 have become ill after drinking the contaminated formula, which has been linked to kidney stones.

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Zedi
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2008, 10:54:10 PM »

October 26, 2008


A community screening has found nearly one quarter of the 300,000-strong babies in the Chinese capital once consumed tainted milk powder.

The door-to-door survey among the city's 307,779 families with infants under age 3 found 75,474, or 24.52 percent of the babies were fed with the contaminated formula.

The large-scale community screening, the first of its kind in China, lasted from Sept. 20- Oct. 24.

China's contaminated dairy product scandal was exposed on July 16 after 16 babies, who were fed milk made from powder produced by Sanlu Group, developed kidney stones.

In the scandal, melamine, often used in the manufacture of plastics, was added to substandard or diluted milk to make protein levels appear higher. At least three infants died and more than 50,000 were sickened after prolonged drinking the contaminated milk.
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Zedi
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2008, 11:06:45 PM »

October 30, 2008
EDWARD WONG

BEIJING — Nine families with babies suffering kidney problems filed separate lawsuits on Wednesday against one of China’s largest milk companies, lawyers representing the families said. They are the latest lawsuits to be filed in the tainted-milk scandal, China’s worst food-safety episode in years.

The lawsuits demand compensation from the milk company, Sanlu Group, and were filed in the northern city of Shijiazhuang, where Sanlu is based.

The milk scandal and the lawsuits are politically fraught, and so far no judge has agreed to hear a case in court. At least three other lawsuits had been filed before Wednesday.

Product liability lawsuits and class-action lawsuits are rare in China. Some legal scholars say that leaves Chinese consumers with one less layer of protection against defective practices by big companies if the governmental regulatory processes fail, as they have in many recent food and product safety cases.

The milk scandal emerged in September, when it was revealed that babies fed formula made from powder tainted with a toxic chemical called melamine had developed kidney stones. At least four babies have died and at least 53,000 other children have fallen ill, according to reports from official news agencies. The government concluded that melamine was being added illegally to watered-down milk to raise its apparent protein count.

In September, government investigators said that Sanlu officials had delayed acting on consumer complaints and warnings in June, and that local government officials in Hebei Province knew of the problems in early August, just before the Olympic Games opened in Beijing.

Sanlu announced a nationwide recall in early September.

Since then, a wide range of food products from China have been discovered to contain melamine, including those made with milk products, like yogurt and cookies, prompting countries around the world to recall Chinese-made food products.

More recently, tainted eggs have been found, raising the possibility that chicken feed was being doctored. In Hong Kong, government officials on Wednesday reported finding another batch of eggs imported from mainland China that had high levels of melamine. The announcement came days after two other tainted batches were reported.

Senior government officials and company executives have been fired as the scandal has widened, and dozens of people have been arrested.

The nine families involved in the latest round of lawsuits, who are from several provinces, hope that the central government will eventually provide some sort of compensation for the ill children, said Ji Cheng, a lawyer with the Deheng Law Office, a large firm based in Beijing that is representing the nine families.

Each family had an infant that had to go to the hospital because of kidney stones, and six are still in the hospital, Mr. Ji said. The families have kept hospital records and complete records of their purchases of Sanlu baby formula, he added. The families are asking Sanlu for at least the equivalent of $2,000 per child in compensation payments.

Mr. Ji said the lawyers did not file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all the parents because each case had different details.

The Chinese legal system allows class-action suits, but onerous rules put in place in recent years by official legal bodies have made them difficult to file.

Some lawyers have been discouraged from representing families seeking damages. In the first weeks of the scandal, more than 100 lawyers put themselves on a list of lawyers volunteering to dispense legal advice to the families. But at least two dozen have since dropped their names from the list; most are from Henan Province, where lawyers have complained of subtle pressure from local officials.

David Barboza contributed reporting from Shanghai. Huang Yuanxi contributed research from Beijing.
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skyjet
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« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2008, 12:28:54 AM »

November 11, 2008

A SOUTH China city is considering using milk at the centre of a poisoned food scandal to make bricks as a cheap and clean way of disposing of the tainted products, state media reported today.

Guangzhou officials are looking into the viability of dumping the toxic products, found to have been tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, into furnaces that make bricks and cement, the Nanfang Daily reported, citing Wang Fan, director of the city's food safety office.

The plan comes after some Guangzhou garbage stations earlier this month poured tainted milk into rivers, triggering concerns the city's water supply would be contaminated, it said.

Using the milk products in the manufacturing process is estimated to be more than 70 per cent cheaper than burning it in garbage incinerators, earlier media reports said.

The reports said that burying the poisoned products was another alternative allowed by the Government but quantities would have to be limited to prevent soil pollution.

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Zedi
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2008, 02:15:32 AM »




China faces new problem with tainted milk _ how to safely get rid of it

By AUDRA ANG  November 14, 2008

BEIJING (AP) _ China faces a new problem with the tainted milk that has sickened babies and battered public confidence: How to get rid of the toxic stuff.

It has been burned, buried and mixed into coal. One trash-hauling company dumped a load into a river, turning the waters a frothy white and raising fears about the safety of the drinking water.

Tens of thousands of tons of milk laced with melamine, a chemical used in making fertilizer and plastics, have been pulled from shelves and warehouses since September, and local governments now face the huge — and costly — problem of safely disposing of it.

The Health Ministry has not released a total figure for the amount of impure dairy products recalled or said how much has been destroyed.

But last month alone, more than 32,000 tons — enough to fill about 23 Olympic-sized pools — were disposed of in a single province, Hebei, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

At a factory in the southern city of Guangzhou, tons of contaminated milk powder were incinerated in 3,000-degree heat.

"All the remaining substance will be put into cement," said Wang Fan, director of Guangzhou's food safety office. "I can guarantee that our disposal process meets the national environmental protection requirements. It will not harm people's health."

Getting rid of dangerous contaminants can be challenging even in places far wealthier than China.

In the U.S., a vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and xxx hormones — were found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, according to an Associated Press investigation earlier this year that found 24 major metropolitan areas affected. Researchers say the pharmaceutical residues can harm fish, frogs and other aquatic life and may be harmful to people.

In Europe, tests of sewage from several hospitals in Paris and Oslo, Norway, have also uncovered hormones, antibiotics, painkillers and heart and skin medicines.

Not known for making environmental safety a priority, China has gotten generally good marks so far from scientists and environmentalists in its efforts to dispose of the adulterated milk.

With confidence in the government's food safety standards battered by the scandal, Beijing has issued new guidelines on how to destroy the tainted products. They recommend burning the milk in large-capacity incinerators or, if such facilities aren't available, burying small amounts in landfills — as long as local environmental bureaus approve.

Burning or burying breaks down melamine and neutralizes its toxicity, said Peter Ben Embarek, a Geneva-based scientist at the World Health Organization's food safety department.

"We're talking about very large quantities so it's very important that these products are being destroyed in a proper way," he said in a telephone interview.

"Burying is OK if it is done in official, controlled waste disposal sites. We don't want to see products buried in illegal dumping places or places where you don't have a clear understanding of the soil conditions and it might lead to contamination of the water supply," he said.

In China's milk scandal, dairy suppliers are accused of adding melamine, which is high in nitrogen, to watered-down milk to make it appear protein-rich in quality tests that measure nitrogen. Tens of thousands of children were sickened and at least three babies died, according to official figures, although families say the death toll is higher.

Destroying the tainted milk remains a costly challenge. Burning it costs about $100 a ton, said Wang, the Guangzhou food safety official. Putting the milk in landfills is cheaper, he said: About $29 a ton, though there are limits on how much can be buried each day.

At the Jinniu Energy Company in Hebei's Xingtai city, some 1,200 tons of milk powder were incinerated in fiery blasts of over 1,800-degree heat over the past month.

"In the first two or three days, progress was slow due to our lack of experience, but it speeded up," said Wang Jian, a company administrator, adding that the incinerator air was treated to remove pollutants. "The furnace is totally sealed and there is no smoke or smell at all."

At a power plant in the coastal city of Qingdao, some eight tons of milk powder were poured into a towering pile of coal, which was then burned to generate electricity.
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skyjet
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2008, 12:38:08 AM »

12/3/2008

BEIJING: China has dramatically raised the tally of children sickened by dairy products laced with the industrial chemical melamine to 294,000, and said six babies may have died from drinking toxic milk.

The health ministry’s new tally of children who suffered kidney-related problems was nearly six times its original figure of 53,000 given in late September. The statement said six deaths since September may have been caused by consumption of the tainted dairy products. That compares to a previous confirmed death toll of three infants.

However, the ministry indicated that virtually all of those who fell ill were no longer in need of medical care and said the worst of the crisis was over. “Through the intense efforts of health ministry departments, medical organs and masses of medical personnel over the past two months, the peak has passed,” it said.

Melamine is a chemical normally used to make plastics but it emerged in September that it had been routinely mixed into watered-down Chinese milk and dairy products to give the impression of higher protein content.

Melamine can cause kidney stones if taken in excessive levels and babies who were fed tainted milk powder suffered the worst because they consumed so much of the chemical. The ministry said the 294,000 children who fell ill had suffered from urinary tract problems and that 51,900 of them had been admitted to hospital for treatment. A total of 861 children remained in hospital, according to the ministry. It said that 154 children had been, or are, in a serious condition.

A ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday the lives of the 154 children were no longer in danger but could not give any more specific details about their conditions. The central government previously said three babies had died of kidney failure from consuming tainted milk powder, while a regional authority also reported one death.

The health ministry spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the six potential deaths included the three confirmed earlier. A China-based Western expert on health issues said the updated statistics were not a surprise, as it was long suspected the number of children impacted was higher than the original figure.

“There is an adjustment on a large scale but these numbers reflect the size of China,” said the expert. The scandal became a global issue when the news broke in September, with Chinese dairy products around the world recalled or banned after they were found to be tainted with melamine.

No melamine-related deaths have been reported overseas and the government has taken a range of high-profile measures to fix the problem but confidence in Chinese dairy products overseas remains extremely low.

The state-run China Daily reported that Chinese dairy exports had come to a near standstill, just when the industry was normally enjoying its busiest time of the year. Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders have repeatedly sought to reassure the world about the safety of Chinese food exports. However it remains unclear just how much of China’s food is contaminated with melamine and other dangerous substances.

In emerged in October that some Chinese eggs also had traces of melamine, after the chemical was added to chicken feed to give the appearance of higher protein content. The discovery raised concerns it could be in many other Chinese foods, with the suspicion that it may have been mixed into other livestock feed. Other Chinese foods have come under scrutiny for safety issues in recent years.

Dumplings laced with pesticide have been discovered in Japan, while the Chinese and international media have reported on problems such as fish being fed antibiotics so they can survive in polluted water
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« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2008, 03:45:00 AM »

Company at heart of China's tainted milk scandal confirms bankruptcy filing

  SHIJIAZHUANG, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Sanlu Group, the center of a melamine adulteration milk scandal that killed at least six babies and sickened 290,000 others, confirmed on Wednesday that it had filed for bankruptcy.

    The Intermediate People's Court of Shijiazhuang City, where the company is headquartered, notified the company that it will accept the bankruptcy petition, said a Sanlu spokesman, who declined to say when the filing was made.

    No other details are available.

    When contacted by Xinhua, the court refused to comment.

    Sanlu products were found to contain melamine, which was being used to increase the apparent protein content in milk. The use of the industrial chemical is restricted in food.

    Children can develop kidney stones after drinking such milk.

    The scandal surfaced in September. The Ministry of Health said last month that 1,272 infants nationwide were still being treated for kidney disorders caused by the milk.

    The Shijiazhuang city government is said to have set up a restructuring team headed by a vice mayor to negotiate with major players interested in buying Sanlu, including Wandashan and Sanyuan.
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