Okay, stop drinking milk now, all of you, or anything that has any form of dairy content in it — unless it comes from some foreign brand. While four babies have already died from Sanlu’s tainted milk powder, and over 6,000 remain sick (including over 150 critically ill), the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has now announced that liquid milk sold by three top Chinese producers has also been found to be tainted with melamine. From AP:
A report posted on the agency’s Web site said test results show nearly 10 per cent of samples taken from Mengniu Dairy Group and Yili Industrial Group – China’s two largest dairy companies – contained up to 8.4 milligrammes of melamine per kilogramme.
Milk from Shanghai-based Bright Dairy also shows melamine contamination.
‘AQSIQ will strictly find out the reason for adding the melamine and severely punish those who are responsible,’ the notice said.
It said all the batches that tested positive were being recalled.
Almost immediately, Starbucks China announced that it would stop working with Mengniu with immediate effect and find alternate milk suppliers:
STARBUCKS on Thursday said its 300-plus cafes in mainland China have pulled out milk supplies by Mengniu Dairy, one of the companies whose product has tested positive for melamine contamination.
Starbucks said that no employees or customers were sickened by the milk.
In a statement, Starbucks said it removed the milk from supplies voluntarily after it learned that Mengniu had confirmed that certain lots of its liquid milk were tainted.
‘Though we believe based on assurances from the supplier that the milk we received from Mengniu is not included in the contaminated lot, due to the serious nature of this warning, Starbucks has voluntarily pulled all Mengniu milk offerings until further notice,’ Starbucks said.
Starbucks said it continues to work closely with Mengniu to further confirm that the milk it supplied to the company was not affected.
The company said it is working to find alternate milk suppliers until the issue is resolved.
Meanwhile, AP reports that Hong Kong has recalled all products produced by Yili:
The recall covers milk, yogurt, ice cream and all other products made by Yili Industrial Group and distributed in Hong Kong, Ms Constance Chan, controller for the territory’s Food Safety Centre, said on Thursday.
‘I call on the public not to consume any products of this brand,’ Ms Chan said, adding that the government has asked the company to stop supplying products in Hong Kong.
The government found the banned industrial chemical melamine in eight of 30 sample products tested by regulators in Hong Kong, said Ms Chan.
The products include milk and ice cream bars coming from two production lines.
Yili expressed its ‘deep regret for any distress’ caused to Hong Kong consumers in a statement issued on late Thursday.
The company said it was investigating the contamination of its products and working with government authorities to find out the source.
It was the second time Hong Kong food inspectors called back Yili products.
On Tuesday, one sample of a yogurt-flavoured ice bar was found to contain melamine.
The chemical has been discovered in milk powder that has killed up to four babies and sickened 6,200 others in mainland China. There have been no reports of infants sickened by milk powder in Hong Kong.
Yili, one of the mainland’s two biggest dairies, was among companies forced to recall baby formula in China on Wednesday in the widening scandal.
So far, all the sick infants in China were found to have consumed milk powder produced by another company.
Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang said the government will order further recalls of any Chinese dairy products if they are found dangerous to health.
‘We will closely monitor dairy imports from China. We will fully sample these products and test them independently,’ Mr Tsang said.