24 Sep 2008

Melamine found in Chinese sweets sold in NZ

10:00 pm on 24 September 2008

The toxic chemical melamine has been found in Chinese imported sweets sold in New Zealand.

The Food Safety Authority has issued an alert on the milk-based sweets known as White Rabbit Creamy Candies.

The authority says the lollies contain unacceptably high levels of melamine. People should not eat them as the chemical may cause health problems such as kidney stones.

The sweets are sold in retail packs through Asian retailers, supermarkets and dairies in New Zealand.

The authority says anyone who has the lollies should either return them to the retailer or dispose of them. People who have eaten them and are concerned for their health should seek medical advice.

The authority says it has no legal right to order an immediate recall.

Food safety regulators in Australia have also asked shops to remove White Rabbit Creamy Candies from sale. It is working closely with wholesalers and importers to get the sweets off the shelves.

Thousands sick in China

Melamine is the industrial chemical at the heart of the Chinese baby formula scandal, involving a company part-owned by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra.

Four children have died and 54,000 have been received medical treatment after consuming milk products containing the chemical.

Melamine has also been found in Chinese sweets, buns and carton milk sold to other countries and regions.