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China says up to 53,000 babies were poisoned by tainted milk

Latest update : 2008-09-23

The Chinese government said on Monday nearly 53,000 babies went to hospital after consuming contaminated industrial milk powder containing the toxic chemical melamine. Almost 13,000 infants remain hospitalized.

In front of the Beijing Pediatric Institute - one of the capital’s largest children’s hospitals - worried families waited in line. A mother carrying her child in her arms explained,” My son has a fever so I'm a bit nervous. He drank milk and maybe he is sick because of that.” Her son was one of 53,000 children being treated after drinking milk that was tinged with melamine. Today people are very suspicious about dairy products.


More than 3,000 tons of milk, yoghurt and ice cream were taken off supermarket shelves over the weekend, heightening consumer concerns. "I don't know what I can give my children anymore," said a man who was carefully checking the label on a can of powdered milk. Ten percent of dairy products in China contain melamine.


The government has clamped down on health hazard foods.  Images of the Chinese premier visiting local hospitals filled television screens. The government has reportedly ordered national media not to investigate the scandal any further, urging them to reprint articles by the official Xinhua news agency instead. Given the magnitude of the crisis, these precautionary measures may not be enough to reassure Chinese citizens.


Concern has spread across China's borders to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore where contaminated milk powder was also found. China is the world's second-largest market for infant milk formula, after the United States.



Date created : 2008-09-22