Chinese authorities say four people have
now died after drinking contaminated infant formula, as more people have been
detained in the scandal.
The latest fatality occurred in the remote
western region of Xinjiang. Officials have not said whether the newest victim
was a baby, as were the first three fatalities.
More than 6,000 babies
across China were sickened when they drank formula that contained the chemical
melamine. It is believed the manufacturer used the chemical to give watered-down
milk the appearance of having high protein levels.
minister Chen Zhu says 158 of the country's sick infants are suffering from
acute kidney failure.
Meanwhile, another 12 people have been arrested in
Hebei province in connection with the scandal, bringing the total number of
arrests to 18.
The province is home to Sanlu Group, the company where the
tainted formula was produced. The group's chairwoman, Tian Wenhua, has been
dismissed from her post and is being detained by authorities. The mayor of
Shijiazhuang city, where Sanlu is based, has also been fired, along with four
Six of those arrested allegedly sold the chemical, while
the other 12 were suppliers accused of contaminating the milk.
Hong Kong has ordered the recall of dairy products made by China-based Yili
Foods after eight out of 30 of its products tested positive for melamine,
including milk, yogurt and ice-cream.
China's Health Ministry has
pledged free health care to all children sickened by the tainted milk. The
government also has stationed 1400 inspection teams at dairy-producing
enterprises across the country. It has pledged to increase inspection of all
dairy products, as well as imported and exported feed, for the presence of
Some information for this report was provided by
AFP, AP and Reuters.