Two more children taken ill in toxic milk scandal

Hong Kong, September 23:

Two more children in Hong Kong were found to have a kidney stone after drinking tainted Chinese milk as the fall-out from the food safety scandal escalates.

The latest discoveries took the total number of confirmed cases of renal problems caused by consumption of milk products laced with the industrial chemical melamine to four in the southern Chinese city.

A 29-month-old boy who was born in Hong Kong but lives on the mainland was being treated in hospital after being diagnosed with a kidney stone, the Centre for Health Protection said in a statement released this evening.

“His father took him to out-patient clinic for examinations. He was diagnosed of renal stone and is now under treatment,” the statement said.

“He is in a stable condition.” The fourth case is a nine-year-old boy who is also born in Hong Kong but lives in the mainland and has consumed tainted milk products for the past four years.

He was found to have a renal stone and discharged by a private hospital after treatment, the statement said.

The centre said their had hotline received 2,148 enquiries by today noon, including 651 people who claimed to have been exposed to the tainted dairy products. The Centre for Food Safety said tonight that they had found two more tainted dairy products in the local market. “Based on the low level, normal consumption will not pose major health effects. However, the public should stop consuming those food items,” it said.

Melamine, which is usually used in making plastics, was found to have been added to milk formula, sickening close to 53,000 infants in China, authorities there have said. Melamine can make products appear full of protein, but it can be fatal if consumed in large amounts. Four children in China have died.

A three-year-old Hong Kong girl who fell ill at the weekend was believed to be the first person outside the mainland to have fallen ill, prompting a rush of concerned families to city hospitals. The second case involves a four-year-old boy who was found to have a kidney stone in the city yesterday.