Ottawa

White Rabbit candy pulled from shelves in Ottawa

Municipal inspectors visited Ottawa's Chinatown on Thursday to make sure a popular kind of Chinese candy wasn't being sold after reports that it could contain contaminated milk that has killed four babies in China and sickened more than 50,000 others.

Ottawa shoppers wary of Canada's food inspection, Chinese products

Municipal inspectors visited Ottawa's Chinatown on Thursday to make sure a popular kind of Chinese candy wasn't being sold after reports that it could contain contaminated milk that has killed four babies in China and sickened more than 50,000 others.

Andy Roche, program manager at Ottawa Public Health, said the city has decided not to wait for a warning from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, given the level of concern and the results of tests elswhere.

Analysis in Hong Kong found the candies contained high levels of melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer, prompting expanded recalls in Europe and Asia for Chinese exports such as White Rabbit candy.

On Thursday afternoon, Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it was drawing up an advisory about the candy that would be released shortly. Prior to that, it had issued warnings about only two products in relation to the tainted milk.

Roche said public health inspectors didn't find the candy for sale in most stores Thursday, indicating that retailers had pulled it off the shelves themselves as a precaution.

Customers leery of Chinese products

On Wednesday, when Daniel Lavoie-McNerney was shopping in Chinatown, they were still available.

He said his confidence in Chinese imports has been shaken.

"Considering how widespread this problem seems to be, I would definitely hesitate before buying Chinese groceries at this point," he said.

Anne-Marie Grey said she's not just wary of Chinese products, but also Canadian inspection.

"We've just seen with the listeria that our own methods here in Canada are not safe-proof, so I'm careful about what kind of products I buy."

The recent outbreak of listeriosis, a food-borne bacterial disease, has been blamed for the deaths of 18 people. It was traced to a Maple Leaf Foods meat plant in Toronto.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued warnings about possible melamine contamination in certain Mr. Brown instant coffee products and Nissin Cha Cha Dessert.

Health experts say ingesting a small amount of the chemical poses no danger, but melamine can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly vulnerable.

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