Melamine found for first time in eggs

October 26th, 2008 - 1:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Oct 26 (DPA) Potentially toxic industrial chemical melamine has been found for the first time in eggs imported into Hong Kong from China, a media report said Sunday.The move has prompted concerns that the chemical, which can cause kidney stones and other renal problems particularly in children, has contaminated more of the city’s food supply than first thought, the South China Morning Post said.

Melamine, which is used in plastics and fertilisers, had previously been found in baby food formula marketed by China’s dairy product giant Sanlu and is blamed for kidney and renal diseases of thousands of babies across the country.

The territory’s Centre for Food Safety said it would test samples of all eggs imported from China starting Monday after melamine was found in a box of eggs from Dalian in northern China.

Tests showed the eggs contained almost double the legal limit of the chemical, which is believed to have been in feed given to the chickens.

A centre spokesman said a three-year-old child would need to eat 12 of the eggs to exceed the safe daily intake of melamine. An adult would need to eat 144 eggs.

Health and food minister York Chow said the discoveries had heightened concerns about wider contamination in the food chain, and the centre would start testing meat and egg samples.

“We will conduct melamine tests on eggs imported from mainland China in the next four to five days,” he said.

“The scope of testing for melamine will also be expanded to non-dairy products such as meat samples.”

Bio-chemist Chan King-ming said pork, chicken and fish could also be contaminated if feed were adulterated with melamine.

ParknShop, the supermarket chain which sold the eggs and is owned by one of Asia’s richest men, Li Ka-shing, said it had removed eggs from sale.

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