10/29/2008, 00.00
CHINA
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Melamine found in eggs of two more Chinese companies

The fear is that the meat and eggs of Chinese poultry could all be contaminated with the substance, which is widely used in animal feed. The president of one of the companies in question is a high party official. Contaminated products continue to be found in Asia.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Prohibited quantities of melamine have been found in eggs sold in Hangzhou, capital of southeast Zhejiang, and in more eggs sold in Hong Kong, after the ones found in Hong Kong last week.

The eggs from Hangzhou were produced by the company Green Living Beings Development Center, in Shanxi. Local authorities have immediately ordered a recall. Yesterday, Hong Kong found melamine in eggs produced by Jinghsan Pengchang Agricultural Product of Hubei, which sells 6,000 tons of eggs to Hong Kong each year.

In all of these cases, the quantity of the substance, which is used in the plastics industry but is hazardous for human consumption, is too low to be excessively dangerous. But it is feared that the problem of eggs containing melamine will be found to be increasingly widespread, as has happened in the case of milk: the contaminated eggs found in Hong Kong on October 25 were produced by another company, Hanwei, in Dalian. It is known that a derivative of melamine is widely used in China in feed for poultry and other animals, and it is feared that the chemical makes its way into meat and eggs. Han Wei, head of the company by the same name, is also a member of the policy advisory board for the Chinese parliament, and has always been a strong proponent of food safety in China. No one has said what kinds of inspections were carried out on the eggs of Hanwei, before they were put on the market.

After the explosion of the scandal of fresh and powdered milk containing high quantities of melamine (more than 53,000 infants with kidney problems, and at least four dead), Beijing has guaranteed strict inspections to detect the substance, and says that the problem is under control. But there is increasing concern over the lack of effective consumer protection measures: dozens of parents of sick children have asked for compensation from the dairy companies, but so far no court has called these basic requests "admissible."

Meanwhile, the "discovery" of melamine continues in exported products. In Thailand, high concentrations (more than 14 times the legal limit) have been found in milk chocolate from Tian Jin Heijingang Foodstuff. Taiwan has banned the sale of Chinese protein powder after melamine was found in it.

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