China has announced that nearly 50 Chinese brands have been tested and found to contain no melamine, a toxic chemical at the center of a worsening milk scandal. The government said it had tested 47 brands of milk and yoghurt and detected no trace of melamine, the chemical discovered in baby milk powder that has sickened 53,000 children and killed four so far.
China's General Administration of Quality Supervision checked 296 batches of dairy products from the brands across the country's major cities, an official at the agency confirmed to AFP on Saturday.
"No melamine was detected," the agency said on its website.
The test was good news for China, which has sought to contain a scandal that has had global repercussions, with countries and regions around the world rushing, banning or restricting its milk products.
The European Union on Friday decided to ban all imports of baby food containing traces of milk from China, and Hong Kong ordered a recall of two products found to contain melamine, a chemical normally used to make plastic.
Japan meanwhile has ordered firms which import dairy products from China to test them for melamine after the chemical was found in four items made by one of its leading food makers.
The maker of White Rabbit sweets, given to US president Richard Nixon on a landmark 1972 trip, announced it was halting domestic sales after its products were found to contain melamine.
In Beijing, for example, 176 new cases were detected, the Beijing Times reported Saturday.
A hospital in Taiwan also said Friday that three young children had developed kidney stones after drinking Chinese milk formula, and the mother of one of the children had also fallen ill.
The only other five cases of children falling ill from drinking tainted milk outside the mainland have so far been reported in Hong Kong.