Posted by Rachel Leigh email
HONG, CHINA (AP) - British chocolate maker Cadbury on Monday became the latest foreign company to be hit by China's tainted milk scandal, ordering a recall of its Chinese-made products after saying tests "cast doubt" on their safety.
Two U.S. food makers were meanwhile investigating Indonesian claims that high traces of the industrial chemical melamine had been found in Chinese-made Oreos, M&Ms and Snickers, but stressed the same goods had tested negative in other Asian countries.
They said they were looking into all possibilities, including counterfeiting.
The milk scandal erupted earlier this month when China's public learned that melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilizer, had been found in milk powder and was linked to kidney stones in children. Contamination has since turned up in liquid milk, yogurt and other products made with milk.
Four deaths have been blamed on the bad milk and some 54,000 children have developed kidney stones or other illnesses after drinking tainted baby formula.
Countries across Asia have removed items from shelves or banned them outright.
Myanmar added its name to the list on Monday, saying dairy items from China would be barred from entering its military-ruled country. The Philippines warned exporters they would be locked out of its market if they did not fully disclose the origins of their products.
"Of course it's always good to have evidence rather than just speculate, but we will have to shift the burden of proof to them because our duty is to protect public health," Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in laying out the new regulations.
Cadbury, the British candy maker, said in a statement issued by its Singapore office Monday that tests had "cast doubt on the integrity of a range of our products manufactured in China."
It was not immediately clear whether they revealed melamine, but Cadbury said it had recalled 11 chocolate products made at its factory in Beijing which are distributed in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.
Hong Kong's government ordered that the chocolates be immediately removed from shelves.
U.S. companies Kraft Foods Inc. and Mars Inc. said they would adhere to a recall order of Chinese-made Oreo wafers, M&Ms and Snickers in Indonesia, but said they wanted to conduct their own tests with outside experts.
So far only a local agency has checked the products for melamine, but the levels found were considered very high.
"We have asked our trade partners and retailers to suspend the sales of our products in accordance to the agency's order," Mars Indonesia spokesman Bondan Ardi said.
Hong Kong supermarket chain PARKnSHOP also pulled its Chinese-made Oreo, M&M and Snickers products as a precaution, spokeswoman Pinky Chan said.