Chinese authorities have urged all provinces and major cities to set up
24-hour crisis hotlines to provide information and help to people
affected by tainted milk.
The order Saturday from the Ministry
of Health follows directions Friday from China's State Council, or
Cabinet, that doctors should provide free medical care for babies who
have gotten kidney stones from contaminated milk.
The milk, laced with the chemical melamine, is blamed for killing four infants and sickening more than 6,200 others.
have been announced by Hong Kong authorities and by a major Japanese food
company, Marudai Food Company, for products that may have been made with
Chinese milk. Malaysia and Singapore have banned milk from China.
Burmese authorities are promising to seize and destroy Chinese milk
And the U.S.-based Starbucks coffee chain has pulled all its products made with milk from its more than 300 stores in China.
top food quality body released a report Friday that said some milk sold
by the country's three major dairy companies, Mengniu Dairy, Yili
Industrial Group and Bright Dairy, was contaminated with the industrial
chemical melamine. The General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine report said 10 percent of milk samples were
tainted with the chemical.
Concerns about milk and other dairy products have widened the scope of the scandal originally limited to infant formula.
dairies have been found selling products tainted with melamine, a
chemical that is believed to have been used in milk to make it appear
to be higher in protein.
No cases of tainted milk products
causing illness have been reported outside of China, but at least two
of the 22 dairies listed by Chinese authorities export to other
countries in Asia and Africa.
Eighteen people have been arrested
in connection with the food scandal. Six of those allegedly sold the
chemical, while the other 12 were suppliers accused of contaminating
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.