EU reviews milk content policy for Chinese foods

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

EU member states are now required to inspect any Chinese products containing more than 15 per cent milk in light of the ongoing melamine contamination scandal that has rocked the nation’s dairy industry.

While the European Commission has any Chinese milk or dairy products, additional inspections will now be required on any product imported in the bloc from the country that has milk content exceeding 15 per cent.

The emergence in China of milk containing melamine has led to a worldwide hunt for branded products, including infant formula and sweets, from the country that may contain dangerous traces of the industrial chemical

Euro risk

Risk assesor, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says the threat of harmful melamine intake from these composite – or milk containing - products remains low, with no cases of contamination as yet in the bloc’s food supply.

However, the Commision has ruled that any Chinese product found through labaratory testing to contain more than 2.5mg/kg of the chemical will be destroyed.

Inspection and ruling

Under the latest proposals, the UK-based Food Standards Agency on Friday informed port authorities that any product found to contain more than 15 per cent of Chinese milk or unable to establish dairy content would face inspection.

The FSA says that there were already strict regulations throughout the EU on ensuring imports of animal origin and that there was thought to be no current danger to the consumer.

“At present, we have no evidence of contaminated products in the UK,”​ the group said. “Should any be found, we will take appropriate action and provide updates online.”

China crises

Melamine is believed to have been used in some Chinese milk to create the appearance that a product has more protein than is really there and has been linked to kidney stones and other health problems.

It has been connected to a number of the country’s leading dairy companies’ products, including those of San Lu, china’s leading milk supplier.

Four babies have died and almost 13,000 were hospitalised after drinking San Lu formula contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine. San Lu had received reports that babies were falling ill as far back as December 2007.

More than 300 Chinese milk producers and retailers issued a joint statement last week promising to reject sub-standard raw materials, strictly inspect production, and take responsibility for product quality.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Fresh Milk

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