China’s ministry of health has said that it was “highly likely” that infant formula made by the Sanlu Group was contaminated with cyanuramide, also known as melamine, a chemical that can cause kidney stones.

No information was given about how the contamination occured.

Officials at Sanlu, one of China’s top four dairies, had initially said that counterfeit formula may have been responsible for the kidney stones that led to the death of one baby this week and hospitalised 14 others.

The group could not be reached for further comment by just-food.

Sanlu has issued a recall of all infant formula made before 6 August. More than 8,000 tons have already been taken off store shelves, reported the official Xinhua news agency today (12 September).  

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China’s quality watchdog AQSIQ has sent a special committee to investigate the problem at Sanlu’s factory. It has also launched an investigation of all brands of baby milk powder nationwide.

The Ministry of Health said it would punish “very seriously” those responsible for the incident.