Chinese hospitals treat 13,000 infants for tainted milk

September 22nd, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Sep 22 (DPA) Nearly 13,000 infants have been hospitalized in China after medical staff examined some 53,000 for problems linked to the consumption of powdered milk laced with the chemical melamine, state media reported on Monday.A total of 12,892 infants were hospitalized and 39,965 others were taken to outpatient clinics across China after consuming suspected baby milk formula, the official China Daily quoted the health ministry as saying.

Four babies had died and 104 were seriously ill, while 1,579 babies were discharged from hospital after treatment, the newspaper said.

Most of those under treatment had consumed baby milk powder made by the Sanlu firm and 99.2 per cent of them were under three years old, it said.

China’s top leaders over the weekend urged officials across the country to respond to the growing scandal over tainted milk after one government department said it had received more than 100,000 complaints about dairy products.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce has launched a nationwide inspection of all dairy producers, wholesalers and retailers.

The administration issued an urgent circular ordering provincial officials to verify the qualifications of all dairy businesses and ensure that unlicensed ones were closed down.

It had received 106,143 complaints and refunded the cost of 304.38 tons of dairy products by Saturday morning, reports said.

Hebei police have formally charged 18 people who sold melamine to milk producers or sold contaminated milk, and detained at least a dozen other milk dealers, melamine traders, company officials and quality supervisors.

Government officials said Sanlu knew about the contamination of milk powder with melamine since March but didn’t order a national recall of the powder until last week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed satisfaction Sunday with the response of the Chinese government in containing the spread of the tainted infant milk.

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