BEIJING (AP) -- China's two biggest dairies recalled baby formula Wednesday and apologized to consumers after authorities found the banned chemical melamine in their product.
The announcements by Mengniu Dairy Group Co., China's biggest milk producer, and No. 2 Yili Industrial Group Co. came after kidney stones in infants prompted Beijing to launch an investigation of all of China's formula producers.
The government said tests found melamine, a chemical used in plastics, in a total of 69 batches of baby formula made by 22 producers. Authorities say melamine might have been added to make milk appear to have more protein after suppliers added water to it.
Melamine was found in three of 28 batches of Mengniu formula tested, the director of China's product safety agency, Li Changjiang, said at a televised news conference. Melamine was found in one of 35 batches of Yili formula tested.
"We are very sorry that consumers have been injured physically and psychologically because of these batches of milk powder," Mengniu said in a statement. "We also extend our deepest apologies to consumers of other Mengniu products."
Mengniu said its recall covers three batches of formula produced in January but did not say how much product was involved. It did not say whether any formula was exported.
Mengniu, based in Hohhot in northern China's Inner Mongolia region, produced 4.8 million tons of dairy products in 2007, according to the company's annual report.
It exported to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Philippines, Namibia, Angola, Oman and Malaysia in 2007, according to the company Web site. It did not say whether exports included infant formula.
The tainted batch of Yili formula was made in July, and a recall is under way, the company said. Yili is based in a city of the same name in China's northwestern desert region of Xinjiang.
"We deeply apologize to consumers who were affected by this," the company said on its Web site.