The Evil Zymurgist, der Chet, The Man in Black (midnightgambler) wrote,
The Evil Zymurgist, der Chet, The Man in Black

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And I thought they were just trying to kill us... Make mine melamine!

Chinese baby milk toll escalates

Fifteen-month-old Tian Yaowen who suffers kidney stones, cries in a ward of Tongji Hospital in Hubei province on Monday
Amid rising public anger, there are reports of a media crackdown

More than 6,200 babies have fallen ill after drinking milk made from contaminated powder, Chinese Health Minister Chen Zhu has announced.

The figure is five times higher than previously announced.

Mr Chen said a third baby had now died - with the latest fatality occurring in the Zhejiang province of eastern China.

Chinese state television reported that the chemical melamine had been found in 22 brands of powder - not one as previously thought.

Mr Chen said a total of 6,244 infants were now sick, and that the number of those diagnosed with "acute kidney failure" had risen to 158.

The government has called the poisonings a "Level 1" food safety incident and formed an emergency team to grapple with the fallout, Xinhua news agency reported.

But rising public anger, expressed on China's active internet forums, is prompting reports of a crackdown by the government on reporting of the milk scandal.

I'm angry. I'm furious
Yang Letong

That anger was reflected outside the headquarters of the company blamed for making the contaminated formula, Sanlu Group, in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, where distraught parents gathered on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Businessman Yang Letong, 34, told the agency his toddler twin daughters had drunk Sanlu products since they were born.

"So what if they give us our money back, you can't give our children their health back," he said.

"I am angry," he said, tears welling in his eyes. "I'm furious."


Sanlu has apologised, saying that suppliers who sold the milk had apparently added the chemical.

Normally used in the manufacture of plastics, melamine makes foods appear higher in protein, but has caused kidney stones in babies in several Chinese provinces.

News emerged of the problem only after a New Zealand company, Fonterra, which owns 43% of Sanlu, informed New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who then informed the Beijing government.

Four people have so far been arrested in connection with the scandal, with more expected. Twenty-two others are being questioned.

Vice-health minister Ma Shaowei warned on Monday that as many as 10,000 infants may have drunk the contaminated milk.

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