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No melamine contamination found at local Dumex plant

SHANGHAI quality authorities said yesterday that tests this week at Dumex Baby Food Co found no evidence that the dairy producer's milk powder was contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine.

The Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said its tests showed infant formula made by Dumex, the milk-powder unit of France's Danone Group, was fully qualified for sale.

The local bureau's probe was the result of an order from the state quality watchdog. That concern was prompted by media reports citing parents who linked their children's kidney problems to consumption of Dumex formula, adding a potential new chapter to China's milk scandal.

Concern prompts test

At least six children have died and almost 300,000 infants in China developed kidney and urinary tract problems after drinking formula laced with melamine, a chemical added to diluted milk to give the appearance of adequate protein.

Twenty-two Chinese dairy makers were caught adding melamine to their milk powder and are compensating the parents of the victims. But no problems were ever found with formula made by Shanghai-based Dumex.

Earlier spot checks had cleared the company. This week's tests, which involved a more comprehensive sampling of 1,741 batches of products made before the scandal erupted, were the result of the new concerns raised by a growing number of parents.

Jiang Yalin, a leader of the parents' group, said yesterday that she didn't believe the Shanghai test results and "is sure there will be more cases of infants suffering from kidney stones after drinking Dumex."

Jiang, a Guizhou Province resident, said she has collected more than 80 such cases through Internet contacts.

She said she began assembling complaints from other parents after her one-year-old daughter developed stones in both kidneys last September after drinking Dumex formula.

Among the cases Jiang has collected, two infants are in Shanghai. Ju Weiqing, the father of a three-year-old local girl who developed crystals in her right kidney and urine last year after drinking Dumex forumla, said he accepted the test results.

"I had planned to launch legal action if the government confirmed the company had done something wrong," he said.

"Though the quality bureau said it is clean, I will still advise my friends and relatives not to feed their babies Dumex."

Officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau said they have not received any orders from state health authorities to enhance checks on infants who drink Dumex milk powder, and local hospitals have not reported any rise in the number of infants with kidney stones.

Medical experts said there are many causes for kidney stones in infants. And even if the child drinks only one brand of milk powder, "it is still difficult to connect the kidney stone directly with the milk powder," said Dr Zhou Wei of Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

He said parents can determine the exact cause by having an expelled kidney stone tested for substances such as melamine.


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