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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 15:54 UK

Melamine found in Cadbury goods

Cadbury chocolate ( generic image)
The recall affects mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia

Preliminary tests have found melamine in Cadbury's Chinese-made chocolates, the company says.

At least 50,000 Chinese babies have fallen ill and four been killed by milk tainted with the industrial chemical.

Cadbury had earlier recalled 11 chocolate types from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia because of fears of contamination.

It remains unclear how much melamine was in the recalled products, a Cadbury spokesman told the BBC.

"It's early days, as these are preliminary findings from the tests," the spokesman said.

He emphasised that the only goods affected were those made in the company's Beijing factory, and not those produced in the UK or elsewhere.

China's reputation for food safety has nosedived since the revelations last month that milk products poisoned by melamine were responsible for causing renal problems in babies who drank the milk formula.

Government pressure

In mainland China, lawyers and local rights groups are seeking to support families affected by the scandal, possibly by suing dairies or officials who failed to disclose the problem.

But many say they are facing pressure from the authorities to abandon their efforts, blaming government sensitivity.

Chinese dairy worker monitors production at a plant in Wuhan
China says it has acted firmly to prevent further contamination

"About two dozen of the lawyers have called these past days to say they want to quit the volunteer advice group," Beijing lawyer Li Fangping told Reuters news agency.

"Some of them said that they or their offices were told they would face serious repercussions if they stayed involved," he said.

In a statement issued by its Singapore office, UK-based Cadbury said preliminary tests had "cast doubt on the integrity of a range of our products manufactured in China".

The products are the latest in a list of China-made foods and drinks that have been removed from shelves around the world in the wake of the scandal.

Widening scandal

In Jakarta, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency said on Monday that it had found traces of melamine in chocolate and biscuit products apparently made in China by Kraft Foods and Mars.

The two companies said they were investigating the claims, although their products had earlier been cleared of melamine tainting.

Some reports raised the possibility the products - including Oreo wafers, M&Ms and Snickers - could be counterfeit.

"We have asked our trade partners and retailers to suspend the sales of our products in accordance to the agency's order," the Mars spokesman in Indonesia, Bondan Ardi, told the Associated Press on Monday.

The companies involved said they would conduct their own tests.

The scandal came to light earlier this month when baby milk powder from the Sanlu Group was found to contain the industrial chemical melamine.

Since then, at least 22 other companies have been implicated.

Melamine is used in making plastics and is high in nitrogen, which makes products appear to have a higher protein content.

Health experts say that ingesting small amounts does no harm but sustained use can cause kidney stones and renal failure, especially among the young.

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SEE ALSO
Why China's milk industry went sour
29 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
China stops tainted sweet sales
26 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Animals sick from Chinese milk
25 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
EU limits imported Chinese food
25 Sep 08 |  Europe
China milk scare 'under control'
24 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese milk fears spread in Asia
23 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific

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