China's Toxic Milk Update: More Recalls and Bans
The milk scandal in China continues to worsen: nearly 60,000 children have been affected, numerous people have been arrested and some face death if convicted, countries are banning the import of Chinese milk products, and government officials are either being fired or resigning from their posts.
The head of China's product-quality agency, Li Changjiang, stepped down under pressure Monday, becoming the highest-level leader to be embroiled in the scandal that has left China's dairy industry reeling.
Li had overseen the ministry-level product-quality agency during a wave of scandals that have tarnished China's manufacturing reputation.
Also sacked was Wu Xianguo, the top official of Shijiazhuang city, where tainted milk powder first surfaced in the Sanlu brand headquartered in the city, the Xinhua news agency said.
Eighteen people have been arrested, including the head of the Sanlu Group, while dozens have been detained for questioning, state media have said.
Bangladesh, Brunei, Burundi, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Phillippines, Singapore, Tanzania and Taiwan have all placed partial or total bans on importing any products that contain Chinese dairy products, while a host of other countries worldwide have stepped up testing to ensure they haven't imported any contaminated products. Bans are being implemented as a precaution, even though there have been no reports of sick children in any other countries aside from China and Hong Kong.
Mr. Brown instant coffee has been recalled in Taiwan and Canada, and rumours are circulating that Mars candies and chocolates may face recalls as well.
New Zealand warns against White Rabbit brand as it contains high levels of melamine, and Tesco also removes the sweets from shelves in Britain.
European Union does not allow Chinese dairy imports.
Bhutan, Gabon, Ghana, Indonesia, and Ivory Coast have followed suit of other countries and implemented complete bans on Chinese milk product imports.
Meanwhile, a top Chinese inspection official tries to assure consumers that the situation is under control:
"There is no problem," Xiang Yuzhang, the national quality watchdog's chief inspection official, told reporters in Beijing. "It has been brought under control, more or less. There are no more problems in the market. As far as I know, there will be no more bad news."