SHANGHAI — More contaminated Chinese candy was discovered in the United States on Wednesday, this time in Connecticut, where consumer protection officials issued a public warning against eating the sticky sweet.
In China, meanwhile, a couple filed a lawsuit against the company at the center of the tainted dairy scandal despite efforts by authorities to keep the issue out of the courts.
The discovery announced Wednesday involved the White Rabbit Creamy Candy brand, which is sold in 50 countries but has already been recalled from stores in Britain and many Asian countries. Jerry Farrell Jr., Connecticut’s consumer protection commissioner, announced that contaminated candy had been found at two stores in New Haven, one in West Hartford and one in East Haven. In each case, tests found traces of an industrial additive, melamine, in the candy.
“We’re concerned, obviously, there may have been bags sold of these before we got to them,” Mr. Farrell said on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers about White Rabbit candy because of concerns over possible melamine contamination. In California, health officials have found traces of melamine after testing samples of White Rabbit candy. The American distributor has ordered a recall, but some of the candy may still be in stores.
Melamine is at the heart of China’s scandal over contaminated dairy products. It is used to make plastics and fertilizers, but it is sometimes illegally mixed into food products, including milk, because its high level of nitrogen can help fool tests that measure protein levels.
In September, Chinese authorities acknowledged that more than 53,000 Chinese infants had been sickened after consuming powdered baby formula that had been contaminated with melamine. Of that total, 13,000 were hospitalized and four died.
Initially, the contamination seemed isolated to powdered baby formula as the state media focused on one company, the Sanlu Group. But officials then announced that tests had found traces of melamine in formula produced by 21 other Chinese dairy companies.
This week, the list of offenders grew as government tests found traces of melamine in some batches of dairy products produced by 15 more companies, according to news agency reports. And traces of melamine have now been found in samples of yogurt and other products made with Chinese dairy.
The scandal has focused widespread public anger at the government. Beijing has sought to place the blame on dairy companies and local officials, especially in Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital where Sanlu has its headquarters. This week, People’s Daily, the authoritative newspaper of the Communist Party, published an unusual article in which a spokesman in Shijiazhuang apologized but also accused Sanlu officials of asking to cover up the problem in August, shortly before the beginning of the Beijing Olympics.
The People’s Daily article never addressed whether city officials participated in a cover-up but stated that they did not inform higher, provincial officials of the problem until a month later.
Meanwhile, Caijing, one of China’s leading independent magazines, reported this week that the parents of a 1-year-old boy were trying to sue Sanlu because the infant developed kidney stones after drinking the company’s powdered baby formula. The couple is asking for $22,000 in compensation. However, Caijing reported that the local court had yet to accept the lawsuit, a tactic often used in China’s legal system to prevent politically delicate subjects from being litigated.
For weeks, parents have besieged several prominent defense lawyers in Beijing with requests to file lawsuits tied to the contamination. One lawyer, Li Fangping, said his office had received more than 1,200 inquiries from parents. But Mr. Li said that the city’s legal association had advised lawyers not to file lawsuits in the matter.