From the shelves of candy shops in Britain to stores in Shanghai and France, China’s most popular sweet is being withdrawn amid fears it is contaminated with the industrial chemical in some milk powder that has left four babies dead and more than 50,000 in hospital.

The famed White Rabbit Creamy Candy, invented in 1943 by a Chinese businessmen impressed by a similar English milk candy, is being pulled because it is thought to contain contaminated milk.

China’s worst food safety scandal in decades has spread from Sanlu baby formula produced by the country’s premier milk powder producer near Beijing to countries across Africa and Asia, an investor in New Zealand and supermarkets in Europe.

France said its ban on all food items containing Chinese milk products was precautionary after the discovery that the industrial chemical melamine – used to make plastics and glue – had been added to milk by collecting centers. Workers added the chemical, which is rich in nitrogen, to diluted milk or milk that failed to meet standards to thwart tests for protein levels. China’s top quality regulator has been fired, the head of Sanlu has been arrested along with some 18 other people involved with selling melamine or tampering with milk.

South Korea said it had banned imports of Chinese-made food products containing powdered milk following the discovery of biscuits tainted with melamine. Australia and New Zealand also issued recalls Thursday for imported White Rabbit candy.

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