CHINESE MILK : A BABY KILLER
China reported on Monday the death of a second infant from tainted milk powder in a growing scandal that prompted an official product recall only after the New Zealand government intervened.
Two traders were arrested for selling up to 3 tonnes of contaminated milk a day, police reported on Monday.
The latest death blamed on infant milk powder made by the Sanlu Group was in Gansu province, a poor region in the northwest where the first infant fatality linked to chemical-laced milk was reported.
The report did not give details about the death. The first was reported at the weekend. China has recorded nearly 500 babies made ill by the tainted milk powder, including 102 in Gansu.
Milk powder producer Sanlu, 43 percent owned by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra, last week halted production after investigators found the chemical compound melamine in its powder was causing kidney stones.
Farmers or dealers may have diluted milk with water and added melamine, used in plastics, to make the milk's protein level appear higher than it really was.
Chinese media reported on September 10 that babies had fallen ill after drinking the formula, and the next day Sanlu issued a recall of products made before Aug 6.
Sanlu began receiving customer complaints in March that babies' urine was discolored and some had been admitted to hospital, Chinese officials have said.
Taiwan said late on Sunday it was banning all imports of Sanlu dairy products immediately.
Many of the stricken Chinese babies are from remote rural areas -- not the first time poorer families have been struck by toxic infant milk powder in China.
In 2004, at least 13 babies died in the eastern province of Anhui after drinking fake milk powder that had no nutrition.
Melamine was linked to the deaths and illness of thousands of cats and dogs in the United States last year after it was added to pet food components exported from China. Normally inert, it can trigger the formation of kidney stones.
Kidney stones are small masses formed when salts or minerals found in urine crystallize. If they become large enough, they can move out of the kidney and cause infection.