BEIJING — The European Union banned imports of baby food containing Chinese milk Thursday as a toxic chemical that was illegally added to China's dairy supplies turned up in candy and other Chinese-made goods that were quickly pulled from stores worldwide.
EU regulators also ordered rigorous testing of imports containing at least 15 percent milk powder after concluding that tainted milk powder from China may well be circulating in Europe and putting children at risk.
The action significantly expands the potential reach of a milk adulteration scandal in China to include a range of foods sold around the world. Cookies, toffees and chocolates are major concerns.
While it is illegal to import dairy products and baby formula from China into the European Union, European nations import many processed foods containing milk powder manufactured outside of Europe. Such products could contain milk powder originating in China.
Milk products in China contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine have sickened more than 50,000 young children in recent weeks.
In the United States, some consumer groups called on the Food and Drug Administration for action.
The United States this year has imported 2-million pounds of a milk protein called casein and other powdered milk proteins used as ingredients in many processed foods, according to FDA figures. This includes 293,000 pounds that were imported in July, when some Chinese authorities were aware of the contamination of dairy products with melamine.