Monday, September 29, 2008

CADBURY has withdrawn 11 products, including chocolate eclairs sold in Australia, after tests had found they contained the industrial chemical at the centre of China's toxic milk scandal.

Last night, Cadbury confirmed preliminary tests had found melamine in some of its Chinese-made chocolates. A spokesman in Hong Kong said it was too early to say how much was in the chocolates. The British chocolate maker earlier said tests had "cast doubt" on the safety of its Chinese-made products but did not elaborate.

As revelations emerged that Australian food regulators were testing 50 Chinese milk-based products for melamine, Cadbury Asia Pacific announced it had begun a recall of all 180-gram bags of Cadbury Eclairs - the only product in Australia so far affected.

"Late this afternoon we notified our retailers who stocked that product to take the product off the shelves," a Cadbury spokesman, Daniel Ellis, said.

"We are conducting our own testing and will need to wait for the results." However, Cadbury Asia Pacific said that it had tested products made at its Beijing plant after the scandal, which has sickened about 53,000 Chinese babies who drank milk laced with melamine.

"As a result of these tests … we have received results that cast doubt on the integrity of a range of our products manufactured in China," the statement said. "As a result we believe it is appropriate to take a precautionary step to withdraw from the market all of our Cadbury chocolate products that were manufactured in our Beijing plant … pending further supply of fresh products."

Mr Ellis said the decision did not affect Pascal Eclairs, which were made in Australia.

Ten other Cadbury products have been recalled in Hong Kong and Taiwan, including bulk packets of Dairy Milk chocolate.

Mr Ellis said the Australian versions were not tainted as there were "no other Cadbury products imported into Australia which contain Chinese milk or Chinese milk-based products."

Coming less than a week after White Rabbit Creamy Candies were recalled following positive tests for melamine, the recall of the eclairs raises questions about the integrity of scores of popular products on Australian shelves.

The Herald learned yesterday that food regulators are testing about 50 products found to contain Chinese milk products. It is not yet known which brands are being tested, but the Herald understands they are mainly lollies, biscuits and confectionery.


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