Thursday, September 25, 2008



53 China-made food items sent for testing 
By : Regina Lee 

Datuk Liow Tiong Lai showing one of the food items to be tested.
Datuk Liow Tiong Lai showing one of the food items to be tested.

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has sealed 53 milk-related products produced in China for testing.

Samples of the items, including chocolate, candy, yogurt and biscuits, have been sent to the Chemistry Department for tests on suspicion that they may contain milk tainted by the banned substance, melamine.

Household names, including distributors of M&M's chocolates, Snickers chocolate bars and the White Rabbit creamy candy, will know their fate when the tests results are released today.

The ministry will also start seizing products off shelves if the test results show that they contain dangerous amounts of the substance.

"But, this is no cause for alarm at the moment. We are doing our best to check everything and we hope to get cooperation from the manufacturers, importers and retailers," Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday.
He also said other food products imported from China and suspected of containing melamine had been placed on Level 5 of the six-level Food Safety Information System of Malaysia, which requires that products be detained pending results of sample analysis.

Milk-related products from China have been placed at the Level 6 alert since Sept 13, which means an automatic rejection.

Liow confirmed that there were no dairy products (milk or milk powder) from China sold in Malaysia since last year.

"To sell milk here, you would need a special licence from the Veterinary Services Department. The department has said that none had been given to Chinese companies since last year." 

Liow said it was normal for food items to contain a small amount of melamine as a result of using plastic wrappers. A directive from the European Commission said up to 30 parts per million (ppm) of the substance was still safe.

Powdered milk produced by China's largest dairy producer, Sanlu Group, was found to have a melamine content of up to 2,563ppm.

Liow urged doctors who come across kidney disorders suspected to be caused by tainted milk products to report the cases to the ministry.


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