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Snack time leaves 87 toddlers in hospital in China

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 4, 2010
A total of 87 children had to be hospitalised after eating yoghurt at a kindergarten in northwest China, state media reported Saturday, as local officials called for better food safety supervision.

Teachers reported the children, aged three to five, at the school in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, suffered fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach problems on Friday afternoon, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Forty of the 87 hospitalised children were well enough to be discharged from hospital by noon on Saturday, the report said.

Their illness appeared to be linked to yoghurt that the school served to the children, the report said. Disease control authorities were investigating the incident.

Lanzhou Mayor Yuan Zhanting instructed local food safety authorities to step up their monitoring, the report said.

Despite the Chinese government's repeated vows to tighten up the apparent lax supervision of its giant food industry, product safety scandals persist.

This week a cooking oil company in central China acknowledged it had waited five months before notifying the public that one of its products had been found to contain excessive carcinogens.

In one of the biggest scandals, huge amounts of the industrial chemical melamine were found in 2008 to have been illegally added to dairy products to give the appearance of higher protein content.

The scandal was blamed for the deaths of at least six infants and for making 300,000 others ill in China.

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