Tainted Chinese Milk Scare Spreads to Canada

September 22, 2008

A Chinese dessert mix made with melamine-tainted milk has been found in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning consumers not to eat Nissin Cha Cha Dessert, which was made in Hong Kong using Yili Pure Milk. The Hong Kong government’s Centre for Food Safety has detected melamine in Yili Pure. Melamine, a chemical with no nutritional value, is used to make plastics.

Plastic Dishes Made from Melamine

Nissin Cha Cha was sold in Canada in a 440-gram package (two packs of 220 g) bearing UPC code 4 897878 550005. The boxed dessert mix was distributed in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, although no illnesses associated with consumption of the dessert mix have been reported. Nissin Foods Company Ltd. has recalled the food product in Hong Kong, and Regent Long Marketing and Distribution Ltd. of Richmond, BC — which imported the dessert into Canada — is voluntarily recalling the product. The recall is a part of an ongoing Canadian government probe into milk and milk-based products made in China and distributed in Canada.

Wen Jiabao, Premier of China, Has Issued an Apology About Tainted Milk Which Has Sickened Over 50,000 Chinese ChildrenOver 50,000 children, mostly under the age of two, have been sickened in China by melamine-tainted milk. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, 52,857 Chinese children have been taken to hospitals after becoming ill from the tainted milk. Of those, 12,892 children remain hospitalized, with 104 of them seriously ill. There are four known fatalities. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has issued a national apology for the tainted food, and the Chinese government is taking emergency measures “to prevent the collapse of the country’s dairy industry.”

The Chinese victims primarily consumed Sanlu baby milk powder. Melamine was added to make the milk powder appear higher in protein than it was, disguising watered-down or otherwise substandard milk. Because the maximum tolerable daily melamine intake is 0.63 micrograms per kilogram (mCg/kg) of body weight, children are most at risk.

According to Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety, Qingdao Kangda Foodstuffs Co., Ltd. manufactures the recalled dessert. Qingdao’s website, which has since been taken down, described the company, based in the Shandong province of China, as “belonging to Qingdao Kangda Foreign Trade Group, [which] is a comprehensive and export-oriented enterprise, mainly covering rabbit products, chicken products, meat products, vegetable products, fruits products, seafood products, prepared products, pet food products, flavors & ingredients, etc.”

In late May 2008, companies that were sued over the biggest U.S. and Canadian contaminated pet food scare in history agreed to pay Canadian and American pet owners $24 million for the loss of their pets, whose deaths were linked to wheat gluten imported from China which was contaminated with. . .melamine.

For more information about the melamine-tainted dessert product, Canadian consumers can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Read about Chinese-manufactured clothing which contained formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

Photo credit: ChinaToday.com

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