- The (Chinese) government is deeply concerned by reports
that some Filipino students have fallen ill after eating Chinese-made milk
candies, the spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce said. A special team
of food safety experts will be sent to the Philippines if necessary to
assist in the investigation, the spokesman said. He declined to reveal
the name of the candies.
- Some 23 schoolchildren fell ill on Thursday [4 Oct 2007]
after eating milk candies imported from China and were sent to hospital
in Cebu, the Philippines, according to local reports. They were all discharged
a day later [5 Oct 2007], reports said.
- Pending the results of the investigation into the incident,
local stores have been asked to temporarily stop selling the candies.
- In response, the Chinese government directed its Cebu
consulate to immediately look into the matter and submit a report.
- Late last month [September 2007], the Philippines banned
the sale of imported Chinese food products at school canteens in response
to reports that the goods contained cancer-causing formaldehyde.
- Among the products tested by the top food watchdog in
the Philippines and found to contain formaldehyde were White Rabbit milk
candies and Yong Kang Foods grape biscuits.
- Formaldehyde, a colorless, flammable gas, has been classified
as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research and as a
probable human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection [Agency].
- Communicated by ProMED-mail
- Formaldehyde is most often encountered in the work place
as a vapor causing damage by inhalation and eye irritation. But it is not
always in a vapor state. It can be found in a liquid as formalin and can
be ingested. Ingestion of as little as 30 ml of a 37 percent solution of
formaldehyde (formalin) can result in death. Gastrointestinal toxicity
after ingestion is most severe in the stomach and results in symptoms,
which can include nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Diverse
damage to other organ systems including the liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas,
brain, and central nervous systems can occur from the acute response to
ingestion of formaldehyde.
- This article does not indicate the level of formaldehyde,
nor does it indicate how severely the children were affected. However,
thy should be followed as cancer is often associated with formaldehyde
- Portions of this comment were extracted from:
- p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10078 - Mod.TG
- (1) From: Name withheld by request
- China is not the only Asia country to have a problem
with the illegal use of formaldehyde as a food preservative. For
example, in Indonesia, the most serious examples are reportedly in
street vendors or food intended for local consumption rather than
in food intend for export. News stories have reported on the use
of formaldehyde to prolong the fresh appearance of fish. Apparently,
it even keeps the eye of fish appearing "clear and fresh."
Other news reports speak of using formaldehyde on chicken carcasses
and in tofu.
- -- The identity of this informed source is known to ProMED-mail.
- (2) From: John Young
- Regarding the moderator's comment: "However, they
should be followed, as cancer is often associated with formaldehyde
exposure," this may be premature.
- While formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen (as classified
by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC), it is
a multi-mechanism carcinogen, with a correspondingly complex
- Before recommending that a nation with limited economic
resources initiate health monitoring for an extremely small exposed
population (with the consequent very low probability of detecting
any real effects), it would be prudent 1st to establish (quantitatively)
the likely exposure and to use the available tools to predict the
corresponding excess risk. Only in the case that the predicted excess
risk is sufficiently high that there is a reasonable likelihood of
detection in this population would it be sensible to initiate a multi-year
- John S. Young, Ph.D.
- Supervisor of Risk Assessment
- Food and Nutrition Services
- Israel Ministry of Health
- Dr. Young's comment regarding dose is appropriate. However,
- know how high the level of formaldehyde was or whether
- are in other candies that may represent a longer exposure
at a lower
- dose. - Mod.TG
- Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website:
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health