The Associated Press
Friday, October 3, 2008
HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam’s health ministry has discovered the toxin at the heart of China’s tainted milk scandal in 18 products and has ordered importers to recall and destroy them, officials said Friday.
Recent tests found the industrial chemical melamine in dairy products and biscuits imported from China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to a statement on the Ministry of Health’s Web site.
Milk containing melamine has been blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 54,000 others in China, sparking global concerns about food products made with Chinese milk or milk powder.
The Vietnamese statement did not list all the brand names that tested positive for melamine, but among them were five different varieties of Yili milk from China.
“We will intensify our inspections for melamine contamination to ensure the safety of consumers,” said Nguyen Thi Khanh Tram, vice director of Vietnam’s food safety administration.
Most of the contaminated items were milk and dairy products from China, the ministry said.
However, they also included biscuits imported from Malaysia and Indonesia as well as a powdered dairy creamer imported from Thailand. It was not clear whether the products had been produced in those countries or simply shipped to Vietnam from warehouses there.
Even before the test results were announced, retailers across Vietnam had begun removing tons of Chinese dairy products from their shelves and importers have been destroying them, according to Vietnamese media reports.
Vietnamese authorities have also said they will require all milk products to be tested before they can be imported into the country.
The milk scandal has sparked global concern about Chinese food imports and recalls in several countries of Chinese-made products.