10,000 Shanghai babies taken ill by contaminated milk scandal

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  • 5% of Shanghai babies hit by China milk scandal

    As many as 10,000 babies in Shanghai have been taken ill by the Chinese milk scandal, say health officials.

    The new figures also reveal that four children have died in the country and 53,000 are ill as a result of drinking the milk formula, contaminated by the industrial chemical, melamine.

    Amid accusations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) of a cover up by China, according to the country’s media, the company behind the scandal, Sanlu, knew about the contamination in June, but did not alert the regional government in Shijiazhuang, until 2 August.

    It then took until the second week of September for officials in Beijing to publicise the issue.

    Jorgen Schlundt, head of the WHO’s department of food safety, said Sanlu has sold milk powder containing over 100 times the concentration of melamine that an 11lb baby can endure.

    Dairy products, chocolate, sweets and biscuits have all been found to include remnants of melamine, which is more commonly found in plastic.

    The chemical was added to the watered-down milk formula to ‘bulk’ it up and seem richer in protein. However, melamine causes kidney stones when consumed.
    Following the scandal, the EU has ruled that all Chinese dairy products and sweets must be tested. Meanwhile, in China 22 companies have been found to have sold contaminated products.

    Sanlu is now facing the prospect of bankruptcy and potentially spending £50 million on withdrawing over 10,000 tons of contaminated milk formula.

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