Dangerous chemical found in Nestle milk

September 22nd, 2008 - 2:06 am ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Sep 21 (DPA) The melamine industrial chemical added to milk that has killed four babies and affected hundreds more in China has been found in Nestle-brand milk sold in Hong Kong, officials said Sunday.Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety announced Sunday evening that a sample of Nestle Dairy Farm Pure Milk made in China and sold in the city of 6.9 million was found to contain a low level of the chemical.

The level of melamine detected in the milk was so low it would take a one year-old child weighing 7.5 kg to drink three packs or 3.38 litres a day to reach dangerous levels, a centre spokesman said.

“Based on the low level detected, normal consumption will not pose major health effects,” the spokesman said. “However, it is not advisable for small children to consume the milk product.

“We have informed the trade of the test results and asked them to stop selling and to recall the product concerned.”

However, the spread of the cases to include products made by the Swiss global food giant Nestle is a significant development in the growing scandal over milk produced in China.

Nestle earlier Sunday denied reports in a mass-circulation Chinese-language paper in Hong Kong that baby milk it makes in China and sells in Hong Kong contained traces of melamine.

In a statement, it said the methods used in the tests by the Apple Daily newspaper were unclear and expressed “confidence that none of its products in China is made from milk adulterated with melamine”.

There was no immediate response by Nestle to the announcement from the Hong Kong government.

Earlier Sunday, health officials confirmed that a girl aged three in Hong Kong has been treated in hospital for a kidney stone after drinking contaminated milk from mainland China.

The girl, who was found to have a kidney stone in a check-up Friday, is the first Hong Kong victim of the scandal that has killed four babies and made thousands more children sick in China.

Twelve people, ranging from a one-year-old to patients in their 50s, are currently undergoing tests in Hong Kong hospitals to see if they have been affected by milk products imported from mainland China.

Health officials say children who have been drinking two or more glasses of affected products may have consumed potentially harmful amounts of melamine.

Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 after 156 years as a British colony but maintains an autonomous economic and political status from the rest of China.

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