Europe moves to stop contaminated Chinese milk importsSeptember 26th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by ANI
London, Sept.26 (ANI): European Union regulators on Thursday ordered rigorous testing of imports containing at least 15 percent milk powder after concluding that food containing tainted milk powder from China may well be circulating in Europe and putting children at risk.
The action, announced by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Commission, significantly expands the potential geographic reach of a milk adulteration scandal in China to now include a range of foods sold around the world, reports the New York Times.
The Europeans said cookies, toffees and chocolates were the major concerns.
The World Health Organization and UNICEF also expressed concern on Thursday about the Chinese milk contamination and the implications for other foods.
In the United States, some consumer groups called on the Food and Drug Administration to restrict imports of foods that may contain suspected dairy ingredients from China.
In China, milk products contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine have sickened more than 50,000 young children in recent weeks and created a spiraling government scandal.
While it is illegal to import dairy products and baby formula from China into the European Union, European nations can and do import many processed foods containing milk powder as an ingredient that are manufactured outside of Europe. Such products could contain milk powder from China.
In 2007, the European Union imported from China about 19,500 tons of confectionary products, including pastries, cake and cookies, and about 1,250 tons of chocolate and other prepared foods containing cocoa.
In the United States, some consumer groups called for stricter regulation as well.
The United States has imported two million pounds of a milk protein called casein this year, along with other powdered milk proteins that are used as ingredients in many processed foods, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture.
This includes 293,000 pounds that were imported in July. The Food and Drug Administration did not immediately return calls for comment on Thursday.
Melamine is a chemical used in plastic manufacturing that can be added to foods to artificially increase their protein content in testing. Its presence was detected in pet foods originating from China last year.
Even if present in foods in Europe, milk powder contaminated with melamine is not likely to cause the kind of public health disaster that is occurring among Chinese infants.
In China, babies drank contaminated milk powder as their sole source of nutrition for weeks if not months, and a handful have died. (ANI)
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- Police seize 64 tons of melamine tainted milk from northwest China plant - Jul 09, 2010
- Melamine-tainted dairy product reappears in China - Nov 24, 2010
- 96 arrested in China for selling adulterated milk powder - Jan 13, 2011
- Six arrested in fresh melamine milk scandal in China - Aug 21, 2010
- China jails 14 people in tainted milk case - Apr 30, 2011
- Chinese Milk Found Tainted With Melamine - Jul 12, 2010
- Cancer-causing chemical found in baby milk in China - Jul 23, 2012
- Chinese police arrests six suspects, 41 others in melamine milk scandal - Aug 21, 2010
- China launches stringent regulation on melamine to ensure food safety - Sep 26, 2010
- Melamine tainted milk resurfaces in China - Jul 09, 2010
- China recalls over 170 tons of contaminated milk powder in latest crackdown - Feb 08, 2010
- Milk products found tainted with melamine in China - Jul 12, 2010
- China sets limit on melamine in baby food - Apr 21, 2011
- China bans more milk products tainted with melamine - Jan 25, 2010
Tags: baby formula, children at risk, confectionary products, consumer groups, dairy ingredients, department of agriculture, european food safety authority, european union regulators, food and drug administration, food safety authority, milk powder, milk protein, milk proteins, powdered milk, prepared foods, processed foods, toffees, united states department, united states department of agriculture, world health organization