Malaysia bans Chinese dairy products

Malaysia has expanded a ban on Chinese dairy products to include candies, chocolates and all foods containing milk, following the baby formula contamination scandal in China, an official said.

The expanded ban comes after Singapore discovered traces of melamine, an industrial chemical, in samples of Chinese milk candy, a Yili-brand yogurt bar and a Dutch Lady-brand strawberry milk made in China. Malaysia earlier this year had banned dairy items from China because of foot and mouth disease in Chinese cattle.

The Health Ministry is now also blocking the import of White Rabbit-brand candy and other Chinese products containing milk ingredients and will seize these items from store shelves, said Noraini Mohamad Othman, director of the ministry's food safety and quality division.

Noraini said the ministry was still determining how many products in Malaysia would be affected by the ban.

"We are in the process of identifying all products from China like biscuits, candies, chocolate and so on," she said. "It's a precaution." Melamine, which can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure, has been blamed in China for four infant deaths. Nearly 53,000 children in China have fallen sick after drinking contaminated baby formula.

Singapore and other countries already have suspended the sale and import of milk, ice cream, candy and all other food products containing Chinese milk.

Melamine, used to make plastics and fertilizer, has been found in infant formula and other milk products from 22 of China's dairy companies. Suppliers trying to cut costs are believed to have added it to watered-down milk because its high nitrogen content masks the resulting protein deficiency.