CHINA RECALLS MILK POWDER THAT SICKENED 150 CHILDREN


2004.06.15
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HONG KONG�Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou have announced the recall of a batch of contaminated powdered milk which led to dozens of kindergarten children being rushed to hospital recently, RFA�s Mandarin service reports.

�We have already made announcements through the media, for example the television stations, radio, and newspapers,� a Guiyang municipal health official told RFA in an interview. �The batch numbers have also been announced. This milk was contaminated during the production process by bacteria,� said the official, identified only by his surname Zhang.

The milk powder is so far known to have affected 70 children in two kindergartens in the Wudang District of Guiyang, and a further 84 children in Pingba County, who were taken to hospital after they were struck with severe vomiting, diarrhea, and fever and later discharged, kindergarten employees said.

�The kids are fine now,� an employee surnamed Wu at the Pingba County Kindergarten told RFA. �That day they were taken to the hospital after they had a reaction from the milk powder, but they were discharged the same evening. They�re not in danger. �

A female employee at the Shanhua Kindergarten in Guiyang City said children there had also recovered. �The kids got better ages ago. That�s all I can really tell you. The children are fine now,� she said.

The municipal health bureau ordered consumers across the province to immediately stop drinking the Shanhua brand milk powder produced by Guiyang Sanlian Milk Co. on April 1-2, and wait for a recall.

The milk powder was found on testing to contain a toxin created by a staphylococcus-type bacteria, which is known to lead to loss of body fluids, heart failure, and even death in vulnerable groups including children and the elderly.

Meanwhile, the government has begun an investigation into factories producing sub-standard or fake baby milk powder across 11 provinces, including those in Fuyang City, in eastern Anhui Province, which caused the deaths of 12 babies and left 189 severely malnourished.

China detained 47 people in May in connection with the scandal, charging 40 of them with producing and marketing fake milk powder. Nine officials in Fuyang, including Mayor Liu Qingqiang and two vice-mayors, have been sacked or given disciplinary penalties for dereliction of duty, official media reported. #####

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