The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
HANOI, Vietnam: Melamine contamination has been found in 23 milk products imported into Vietnam from China, officials said Tuesday, intensifying consumer worries about tainted milk products.
Five more products tested positive for the industrial chemical, which is usually used in making plastics and fertilizers. So far authorities have found 23 contaminated products after testing 400 samples of milk and milk products, Vietnam’s vice minister of health Cao Minh Quang said.
About 300 tons of products, mostly imported from China, have been recalled, said the ministry’s chief inspector, Tran Quang Trung.
“Milk and milk products contaminated with melamine have been brought under control,” Quang said. “Our top priority is to protect the health of people, especially children.”
Many Vietnamese customers have already stopped buying milk and milk products after reports of contaminated milk emerged.
“I have stopped buying milk for my 3-year-old son. Now we have to find other kinds of food to feed him,” said Nguyen Mai Huong, 33, a state employee. “There are too many kinds of milk, and we don’t know which one is safe.”
Vietnamese dairy farmers are suffering as a result of the milk boycott because factories are refusing to buy milk from them.
Nguyen Thi Mai, a dairy farmer in Phu Dong village just outside Hanoi, said she has had to give away or throw away milk since factories stopped buying it six days ago.
“I don’t know what is melamine, but it’s killing us,” she said.
China pledged to improve food safety Monday and authorities detained six more people in the country’s contaminated milk scandal. The head of China’s quality watchdog said the country was also stepping up checks on its exports.
The Chinese government has been scrambling to show it is tackling the problem of melamine contamination in milk powder and other products, which has been blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 54,000 children with kidney stones and other illnesses in China.