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10,000 infants still in hospital after milk woe
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More than 10,000 babies remain in hospital as a result of China's tainted-milk scandal.

The Ministry of Health said on its Website that only eight of the 10,666 babies were in a serious condition after drinking milk powder contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, which can lead to kidney stones and even life-threatening renal failure.

The tainted milk powder has so far been blamed for the deaths of four babies and the sickening of about 54,000 others in China.

The Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday the numbers of babies undergoing urinary screening and those detected with urinary-tract stones and kidney stones due to melamine-tainted formula were dropping rapidly after the city carried out checkups at 74 local hospitals.

About 20 babies were found with urinary-tract stones daily, the health bureau said.

Since September 11, local hospitals had screened tens of thousands of babies and 2.94 percent were found with urinary stones. No patients had developed serious illnesses, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, Singapore's food-safety agency said yesterday it found traces of melamine in three more Chinese-made products, The Associated Press reported.

The food agency said the chemical was detected in samples of blueberry and chocolate flavored Cadbury Choclairs and Panda Dairy-brand Whole Milk Powder imported from China.

In Hong Kong, the city's food regulator said it found melamine in EDO Pack Almond Cacao Biscuit Sticks produced by Hong Kong company EDO Trading Co.

The biscuit sticks were manufactured by the company's factory in the coastal city of Qingdao, the firm said.

Shanghai has stopped the sales of Alpenliebe fudge. Supermarkets in the city said they received a recall notice from Perfetti Van Melle Group, manufacturer of the fudge.

"Although we didn't receive an order from governmental authorities, we took the fudge off the shelves after the request by the company," said Li Jing, an official with Carrefour Shanghai.

In Guangzhou, the Lotus Hypermarket stopped the sales of ice-cream produced by the Mengniu and Yili dairy companies, which have been found to contain melamine.

Chinese dairy suppliers have been accused of adding melamine, used in plastics, paint and adhesives, to water down milk and make the product appear rich in protein in food-quality control tests.

The Finance Ministry said yesterday the government had allocated 300 million yuan (US$44 million) to help dairy farmers who have been badly hit by the declining demand for milk.

Many farmers have been forced to throw out milk.

(Shanghai Daily October 10, 2008)

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