Thirty-one samples of Chinese milk powder provided by 20 companies were found tainted with melamine after new testing, according to data seen Wednesday on China's food safety administration's Web site. Five of those companies had already been fingered in the scandal. Product safety officials could not be reached for comment.
The scandal has sparked global concern about Chinese food imports and recalls in several countries of Chinese-made products including milk powders, biscuits and candies such as the widely sold White Rabbit sweets, which have been pulled from shelves in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
An additional 31 batches of Chinese milk powder were found contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, China's government said Wednesday, further broadening a scandal affecting products ranging from baby formula to chocolate.
The contamination has been blamed for the deaths of four children and kidney ailments among 54,000 others. More than 13,000 children have been hospitalized and 27 people arrested in connection with the tainting.
Melamine, which is high in nitrogen, is used to make plastics and fertilizers and experts say some amount of the chemical may be transferred from the environment during food processing. Melamine can cause kidney stones, leading to kidney failure. Health experts say ingesting melamine can lead to kidney stones, urinary tract ulcers, and eye and skin irritation. It also robs infants of much-needed nutrition.