Kirin milk tea withdrawn in Australia on melamine worry

SYDNEY/TOKYO (Reuters) - Australian importers have begun withdrawing Kirin Milk Tea made in China after Australian test results showed levels of melamine in the product available in Australia, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said.

“The action commenced on October 3 and follows Australian test results showing levels of melamine in product available here,” FSANZ said in a statement on its Web site.

“Consumers are advised not to consume Kirin Milk Tea made in China.”

Officials at Japan’s Kirin Beverage Co Ltd were not immediately available for comment. Kirin Beverage is part of Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings.

But Japanese news agency Kyodo quoted Kirin Beverage’s public relations department as saying on Saturday that melamine had not been detected from the company’s milk tea made and sold in China, adding the company was investigating the facts.

Kirin Beverage said its milk tea sold in Japan was made domestically and did not use dairy products imported from China.

Thousands of children in China have fallen sick and four have died after drinking contaminated milk.

Scores of foreign companies have been forced to recall products made with Chinese dairy ingredients or to reassure customers their goods are safe.

Late on Saturday, China said new tests had revealed no melamine in liquid milk on the home market.

Samples of 609 batches of liquid, as opposed to powdered, milk from 27 cities across China were found free of melamine, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) announced.

Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Additional reporting by James Thornhill in Sydney; Editing by Valerie Lee