Taiwan’s Pizza Hut withdraws tainted Fonterra cheese

TAIPEI, September 26, 2008 (AFP) – Taiwan’s Pizza Hut said Friday it had pulled grated cheese from its outlets after they were found to contain unacceptably high levels of the industrial chemical melamine.

“Our delivery shops island-wide have stopped supplies of the grated cheese after tests for melamine showed higher than the allowed levels. We apologise to the public,” a company spokeswoman told reporters.

The company said the grated cheese, which is mixed with creamer, contained 30 times the permitted level of the chemical, at 76 parts per million.

It estimated that some 130 kilograms (286 pounds) of the product, which comes in small individual servings for sprinkling on pizzas to add flavour, had already been distributed by its 143 delivery shops.

Pick Food & Machinery Corporation, which makes the product, said in a statement the creamer came from a Malaysian company and the cheese from New Zealand dairy producer Fonterra.

It said further tests had been conducted to determine which ingredients were contaminated and results were expected next week.

Fonterra is partner to the Chinese company Sanlu which is at the centre of the toxic milk scandal in China. China has said 53,0