Chinese state media say the number of children hospitalized after
drinking milk products contaminated with an industrial chemical has
risen to nearly 13-thousand.
China's official Xinhua news agency said nearly 40-thousand infants who
drank tainted baby formula have been treated by hospitals on an
outpatient basis. Xinhua, citing China's health ministry, said 104 of
the children who doctors hospitalized are still in critical condition.
In the first reported case outside mainland China, health officials in
Hong Kong confirmed Saturday that a three-year-old girl has developed
severe kidney problems. The girl became ill after drinking a
contaminated Chinese-produced milk beverage for the last 15 months.
Hong Kong authorities have also found a small amount of melamine in
Chinese-made Nestle brand milk.
A World Health Organization official said Sunday that Chinese government agencies failed to communicate with each other at the start of the scandal.
The official (Western Pacific director Shigeru Omi) said
the Chinese government needs to improve its laboratory testing
facilities and reporting systems. But he said China is moving in the
"right direction" by recalling products and stepping up food safety
Four children have died after drinking baby formula contaminated with
the chemical melamine that was produced by Chinese dairy manufacturer
Sanlu group. Chinese investigators have found the same chemical in the
milk products of at least 22 other companies. Melamine can cause foods
-- such as watered-down milk -- to appear to be higher in protein.
Bangladesh, Brunei, Burundi, Gabon, Malaysia, Singapore and Tanzania
have banned milk products from China. Burmese authorities are promising
to seize and destroy Chinese milk products.
Eighteen people have been arrested in connection with the milk scandal.
A group of lawyers offering legal aid to families affected by the
scandal is pushing for the government to provide compensation.
Meantime, in Bangladesh an inter-ministerial meeting
decided to not release any new milk-powder consignments from port before the
BSTI reports on whether any of the 36 samples it collected Saturday is
contaminated with melamine.More report from our Dhaka stringer Zahurul Alam