South Korea finds melamine in Chinese egg products

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has ordered 23 tonnes of Chinese processed egg products to be destroyed after they were found to be tainted with melamine, the latest in a series of health scares blighting the “made in China” brand.

The move comes after South Korea found melamine in 10 Chinese dairy products earlier this month and ordered them to be taken off shop shelves.

Tens of thousands of Chinese children have fallen ill and at least four have died from drinking milk formula contaminated with melamine, which has since been found in a series of drinks and foods and led to products being pulled from shops worldwide.

Widely used in making plastic kitchen utensils, melamine is added to cheat nutrition tests and can pose serious health risks if consumed in quantity.

The tainted processed egg products were imported from China’s Dalian Hanovo Foods Co. Ltd. and Dalian Greensnow Egg Products Development, South Korea’s Farm Ministry said in a statement.

“We’ve ordered a halt to imports from the two companies and requested the Chinese government to find out the cause of the contamination,” it said.

Dalian Hanovo Foods was not immediately available for comment. A woman in the quality supervision department at Dalian Greensnow said she knew nothing about the recall.

South Korea had ordered the destruction of 23 tonnes stored in warehouses and would recall products which may have been already sold to food companies for use as an additive or salad seasoning, the ministry said.

South Korea imported 622 tonnes of processed egg products from 11 Chinese companies this year.

China has been swept by a series of food- and product-safety scandals involving goods as diverse as toys, tires, toothpaste, pet food, fish, beans, dumplings and baby cribs.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said Wednesday it plans to crack down on its Chinese suppliers, enforcing stricter quality and environmental standards.

Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Nick Macfie and Bill Tarrant