HONG KONG (AFP) — A three-year-old Hong Kong girl has developed a kidney stone after drinking Chinese milk powder, the government has said, as a major contamination scare spread to the southern city.
Four babies have died and more than 6,000 are ill in mainland China after drinking formula contaminated with an industrial chemical that has also been found in popular brands of regular milk, yoghurt and ice cream.
The Hong Kong government this week ordered a recall of Chinese milk powder made by dairy giant Yili after discovering it contained the chemical, melamine, which can cause kidney stones.
But the three-year-old is the first child outside the mainland known to have fallen ill after consuming the product.
The Hong Kong government said late Saturday that its health department had "received notification from the Hospital Authority of a case of renal disease with history of consumption of a milk product adulterated with melamine."
The statement said the girl's parents took her to a clinic on Friday to be checked because she had been drinking the poisoned formula for the past 15 months, although she had no symptoms.
Doctors found a stone in her left kidney and referred her to hospital, but she was discharged and her condition is good, it said. The hospital said it would arrange for further treatment.
The Hong Kong government has faced criticism that it was slow to act over the contamination scandal.
It has set up a hotline for concerned parents and is advising people not to consume the affected brands.
Melamine, normally used to make plastics, was added to milk in China because it boosts the apparent protein content.
Since the discovery, several countries have suspended the import and sale of all Chinese-made milk and milk products.
The problem first came to light last week in China's state-controlled media, although some Chinese press reports said the scam had been going on for years, with the country's chaotic and corrupt food safety system unable either to detect or prevent it