China's health ministry is launching a nationwide probe of all baby milk powder after a company acknowledged some of its products were contaminated.
State media reported Thursday the Sanlu group issued a recall for 700 tons of baby formula produced before August sixth. Health officials say the formula was tainted with melamine and was likely the cause of kidney stones in dozens of babies across the country (-- including Jiangsu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Anhui, Hunan and Gansu provinces).
At least 59 infants have been hospitalized with the condition and one baby died in the northwestern province of Gansu.
Sanlu is a leading maker of dairy products and is partly owned by a New Zealand company (Fonterra). Reports say some of the products could have made their way into overseas markets.
Health officials in the United States on Thursday warned consumers to avoid any baby formula made in China, after several brands tested positive for melamine.
Chinese-made baby formula is not approved for sale in the U.S., but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is possible some Chinese formula is for sale at ethnic grocery stories in areas with large Chinese populations.
Melamine is used in plastics, fertilizers and flame retardants.
American officials blame Chinese-made pet food contaminated with melamine for the deaths of numerous cats and dogs in the United States last year.