New testing has found melamine tainting in another 31 brands of Chinese milk powder.
The new testing follows earlier results showing widespread contamination among infant formula blamed for the deaths of four children and kidney ailments among 54,000 others, reported CNN News.
The industrial chemical, which is high in nitrogen, is believed to have been added to watered-down milk to mask the resulting protein deficiency and fool quality tests. In all, the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine tested samples from 265 brands produced before September 14. Nine of those found tainted were produced by the company at the center of the scandal, Sanlu, a 43 percent stake of which is owned by New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong authorities said the amount of melamine found in samples of chocolate made at British candy maker Cadbury's Beijing factory was legally acceptable for human consumption.
Tuesday's announcement came a day after the company recalled 11 items sold in parts of Asia and the Pacific. Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety said it ran tests on six Cadbury products, two of which had been made in Beijing and had been recalled, and found them to have melamine levels lower than the territory's legal limit of 2.5 parts per million. It did not say whether it was testing the other nine products being recalled. Cadbury said the Hong Kong test results did not change their decision to recall the products from the Beijing plant. "It was tested as satisfactory but we are still withdrawing it," said Simon Taylor, head of corporate relations and communications at Cadbury. "That makes no change from what Cadbury announced on Monday." Since melamine-tainted infant formula was uncovered in China, the banned chemical as been found in an array of food products forcing a wave of recalls, mostly in Asia. Experts say some amount of melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilizers, may be transferred from the environment during food processing. But in China's case, suppliers trying to boost output are believed to have diluted their milk, adding melamine because its nitrogen content can fool tests aimed at verifying protein content. On Tuesday, China's President Hu Jintao made his strongest public comments yet regarding the scandal. "We need to ensure that all products on the market are up to standard, so that consumers don't have to worry," Hu said during a tour of dairy farms broadcast on China Central Television's evening news.
The state-run China News Service says 27 people have been arrested so far in connection with the scandal.
The Dutch food safety watchdog announced Tuesday it had found slightly elevated levels of the industrial chemical melamine in cookies imported from China and sold under the "Koala" brand. The cookies have been pulled from shelves in the Netherlands and the chance they have made anybody sick is "extremely small," the agency said. Also Tuesday, Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever said it was recalling its Lipton-brand 3-in-1 milk tea powder in Hong Kong and Macau after it was found to contain melamine. Last week, Unilever recalled Lipton Green Milk Tea from the Taiwan market, because the product used Chinese-made milk. Hong Kong authorities also said they had found unacceptably high levels of melamine in Pocky Men's coffee cream coated biscuit stick, produced by Japan's Ezaki Glico Co. Ltd. The company had no immediate comment on the reported contamination. Two samples of coconut and walnut cakes manufactured by Tian Le Yuan Foods Co. Ltd. in southern China were also found to contain unacceptably high levels of melamine, authorities said.