Tuesday, 30 September 2008 4:39 AM

China's Milk Disaster Affects Region

China's contaminated milk problem that has already claimed the lives of four babies in China is also affecting the region with countries here issuing warnings against certain products that contain the chemical melamine.

The tainted milk scandal, which has caused a scare internationally, has caused reportedly over 50,000 illnesses. It began with tainted milk and infant formula which appeared to have been added with melamine to appear to have higher protein content and now the list of products caught in the scandal have grown with the Associated Press reporting that it now includes 'baby cereal in Hong Kong and snack foods in Japan'.

'The Japanese government also said it had suspended imports of milk and milk products from China, where some 54,000 children have developed kidney stones or other illnesses after drinking baby formula contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine'.

Here in the region, some countries have issued warnings regarding products containing the contaminated milk products.
Besides Solomon Islands, Fiji has also issued a warning with Fiji Times Online reporting that the Fiji Consumer Council is 'urging a recall of White Rabbit Creamy Candy Lollies after tests found traces of the industrial chemical melamine in them'.

'A council statement yesterday said market surveillance found the Chinese-made candies were being sold in some Chinese shops in the capital' with Council CEO, Premila Kumar, stating that 'tests in Australia and New Zealand have revealed the candy contains high levels of melamine'.

In Vanuatu, according to the Vanuatu Daily Post, 'Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health Dr Timothy Vocor has issued a warning to all ni-Vanuatu about the use of Sanlu Infant formula (baby milk power)'.
Sanlu Group is the market leader in China for dairy products.

Papua New Guinea's The National reported that 'Major PNG retailers Super Value Stores (SVS) and RH Hypermart are recalling some of their dairy products due to the ongoing scandal'.
Items being recalled include 'M&M, Snickers, Mento's Yoghurt Bottle, Dove Chocolate, Oreo Wafer sticks, Dutch Lady Sterilised Milk, Wall's All Natural Mango, Mini Poppers Ice Cream, Magnum Ice Cream, Mini Cornetto and Youcan Ice Cream'.

The general public are requested to contact their countries' relevant authorities if they come across any products that may contain the contaminated milk product.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province