HONG KONG (AP) -- Chinese eggs have been found with excessive amounts of the industrial chemical melamine that may be traced to fertilizer fed to chickens that laid the eggs, the Hong Kong government said Saturday.
China has been caught in a food safety scandal over dairy products tainted with melamine. More than 3,600 children remain sick in China from contaminated milk, with three in serious condition, the Ministry of Health said last week. The deaths of four infants have been blamed on dairy products contaminated with melamine.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement late Saturday it found 4.7 parts per million of melamine in the eggs produced by a division of China's Dalian Hanwei Enterprise Group based in the northeastern port city Dalian.
The legal limit of melamine in Hong Kong is 2.5 ppm.
Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said the melamine may have come from fertilizer fed to the chickens that laid the eggs.
"The preliminary opinion experts have given us is that there is a problem with the fertilizer," Chow told reporters.
Calls to Dalian Hanwei Enterprise Group after-hours Saturday went unanswered.
Chow said Hong Kong officials will step up checks of eggs imported from China.
Melamine is used in the manufacturing of plastics, fertilizer, paint and adhesives. Health experts say ingesting a small amount poses no danger, but in larger doses, the chemical can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly vulnerable.
A child weighing 10 kilograms (22 pounds) would have to eat 12 of the eggs from Dalian to reach the daily tolerable intake and an adult weighing 60 kilograms (132 pounds) would have to eat 144 eggs.
The Hong Kong government also said it found excessive amounts of melamine in Blueberry Cream Sandwich crackers made by Philippine company Croley Foods MFG. Corp.
A man who answered the phone at Croley Foods after-hours Saturday said the sales and marketing contact listed on its Web site, Jeremiah Lim, was not in the office.