'High level of melamine' in two Cadbury products

By: CNN
By: CNN

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Hong Kong authorities Sunday announced that two recalled candy products made by British confectioner Cadbury had high levels of melamine.

A food safety official checks on fresh milk at a collection station in Chengdu in China's Sichuan Province.

The industrial chemical has recently been found in Chinese-made milk products that have sickened nearly 53,000 children in China, killing four.

Countries around the world have since banned the import of Chinese products containing milk, or have withdrawn products that contain milk from China -- such as candy -- amid worries they contain melamine.

Last week, Cadbury recalled all of its Chinese-made candy products after preliminary tests showed they contained trace amounts of melamine.

Cadbury took the action because "no level of melamine is appropriate," spokesman Tony Bilsborough told CNN on Sunday.

He could not comment on the latest test results. The company stresses that its products manufactured at its Beijing plant are only exported to Taiwan and Hong Kong, with one product -- Cadbury Eclair -- sent to Australia, Nauru and Christmas Island.

Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety tested 104 samples of products made by a variety of manufacturers, including Cadbury, Nestle, and some U.S. and Chinese companies. Only two of the samples showed unsatisfactory levels of melamine -- Cadbury Dairy Milk Cookies Chocolate (bulk pack 5kg) and Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut Chocolate (bulk pack 5kg).

The sample of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut Chocolate contained melamine levels of 65 ppm (parts per million) which is more than 25 times the acceptable level of 2.5 ppm, according to Hong Kong's government.

According to the center, a child weighing 22 pounds (10kg) would have to eat more than 10 small pieces of the hazelnut chocolate to surpass the tolerable daily intake. An average adult weighing 132 pounds (60kg) would have to eat more than 112 small pieces to surpass the level.

The melamine levels in the samples of Dairy Milk Cookies Chocolate were 6.9 ppm -- more than twice as high as the legal limit of melamine.

Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety said it will continue to test dairy products and other products with dairy ingredients. Test results on other products -- including milk powder, soya drinks, yogurt, butter, baby food and frozen confections -- would be released on Monday, it said.

Chinese authorities have implicated 22 Chinese dairy companies in the tainted milk scandal.

Investigators suspect people watered down milk in an attempt to sell more of it, and added melamine in order to fool quality checks, Chinese authorities have said. The toxic chemical is used to bolster apparent protein levels in diluted or poor-quality milk.

On Saturday China announced that a test of 607 batches of liquid milk from 27 cities found the samples to be melamine-free, state-run media said.

The tests were the sixth Chinese officials have carried out since melamine was discovered in powdered infant formula last month.

Chinese authorities have promised to subsidize farmers hit by the shrinking demand for milk, the news agency Xinhua said.

Among them is the northern Hebei province, which has earmarked 316 million yuan ($46.1 million) for subsidies. That translates to giving a farmer 200 yuan ($29) per cow, Xinhua said.

Melamine is used to bolster apparent protein levels in diluted or poor-quality milk.

Chinese authorities have arrested 40 people in connection with the scandal, including two brothers who could face the death penalty if convicted.

Authorities have implicated 22 Chinese dairy companies in the scandal.


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