Vietnamese consumers are avoiding milk after local authorities found 18 tons of Chinese milk containing toxic melamine in Ho Chi Minh City, a senior Health Ministry official said Tuesday.
"We found 1,494 packages of milk, equivalent to 18 tons, produced by the YiLi Industrial Group of Inner Mongolia and imported to Vietnam by the Kim An company in Ho Chi Minh City," said Nguyen Hung Long, deputy director of the Food and Hygiene Department of the Health Ministry, reported dpa.
"All of this milk contained melamine."
YiLi milk containing melamine was imported to Vietnam in May 2007, and more than a ton was sold to customers. The rest was recalled by the company after health inspectors found it contained melamine.
"Vietnamese customers are now very worried about the quality of milk," said Nguyen Thu Huong, 21, a shopkeeper in the famous milk selling street of Hang Buom in Hanoi. "We can't sell any Chinese milk for the past week, because customers always say they cannot feel safe buying Chinese products."
"My children haven't wanted to drink milk for the past few days," said Tran Thu Nga, 32, a mother of two. "They said they are not sure about the quality of milk, so they don't want to take risks."
Vietnamese authorities Monday asked market and health inspectors to check all brands of Chinese imported milk.
Chinese authorities acknowledged last week that melamine, a chemical that causes kidney-related diseases, was present in milk processed by three major Chinese dairy companies. Four Chinese infants have died of melamine-induced kidney diseases, and 54,000 have fallen ill.
Vietnam's Health Ministry Monday sent an urgent message to provincial and city governments to suspend the circulation of milk products and materials of unidentified origin, and to inspect the sources of all milk products and materials in the market, especially those imported from China.
The government publicized a list of 22 Chinese companies whose product samples were found to be melamine-contaminated.