Fear of contaminated dairy products spreads globally

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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PARMA, ITALY — The impact of Chinese milk products tainted with melamine is causing global concerns extending from the rest of Asia to Australia and New Zealand and now to Europe.

The European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority to provide information and advice on potential health risks for foods containing milk or milk products that originated in China.

"The import of milk and milk products originating from China is prohibited into the E.U., however, composite food products such as biscuits and chocolate, which could be made from contaminated milk powder, may have reached the E.U," the E.F.S.A. said in a statement.

The European investigation looked at potential worst case scenarios for biscuits and chocolate containing contaminated milk powder with the highest value of melamine reported in Chinese infant formula. The investigation found the levels of melamine would not pose a risk for adults, but may put children who could consume both biscuits and chocolate with the tainted ingredient at risk for negative health affects. The E.F.S.A. noted it is not currently known if such high level of exposure has occurred in Europe.

According to the Associated Press, at least 12 countries have banned Chinese dairy products as the contamination has sickened nearly 54,000 children and killed four in China. The health concerns are primarily kidney stones and other kidney issues.

The initial concern in China was with tainted baby formula, and 22 dairies have been identified with traces of melamine. Now the concern is shifting to other tainted milk products that may have been used in foods and distributed outside the country. Australia and New Zealand also have recalled some imported Chinese candies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is investigating, although no melamine-tainted products have been identified in the United States.

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