(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Vietnam's health ministry has discovered the industrial chemical melamine in 18 dairy and biscuit products imported from China and three other countries and has ordered them recalled and destroyed, officials said Friday.
Meanwhile, Russian news agencies reported that food inspectors found nearly two tons of Chinese dry milk believed to be contaminated with melamine. And Philippines health officials found melamine in two of 30 milk products from China that were tested for the chemical.
Recent tests in Vietnam found 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.
Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III identified the two tainted brands Friday as Mengniu and Yili, which have already been found to be contaminated in tests in China.
Duque said 28 other products, including M&M chocolate candies, powdered milk and yogurt have been cleared for sale and 200 more were being tested. Additional results may be released early next week.
The Philippine government halted the importation and sale of Chinese milk products pending inspections last week after melamine-tainted milk was blamed for four deaths and kidney stones and other illnesses in 54,000 children in China.
Russia's ITAR-Tass quoted Russia's chief epidemiologist Gennady Onishchenko as saying that the 2 tons of dry milk was seized in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, on the Chinese border.
Consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor on Tuesday banned all imports of Chinese dairy produce.
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