Friday, September 19, 2008

China's Adulterated Milk - How Far Did It Travel?

China's melamine-adulterated milk scandal keeps growing larger. The chemical adulterant has been detected in fluid milk, ice cream and yogurt, in addition to milk powder. 

Countries that have imported dairy products from China are scrambling to determine whether those products are adulterated.

  • Hong Kong found melamine in eight dairy products manufactured by Yili – one of the two largest dairies in China, and one of the 22 dairies implicated in the melamine investigation – and has ordered a recall of all Yili dairy products in the Territory. The Centre for Food Safety announced that it was testing infant milk powder available for sale in the former British Crown Colony even though government authorities had been assured that the milk powder sold in Hong Kong contained no ingredients from the mainland.
  • Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has ordered all Yili dairy products removed from store shelves, and is testing samples of Yili products and those from another Chinese dairy company.
  • Bangladesh has initiated testing of milk powder imported from China. The government indicated that it would impose a ban milk imports from China if melamine is found in any of the samples.
  • The UK Food Standards Agency issued an advisory to consumers, stating that there is "... currently no evidence that any of the affected milk, milk powder or powdered infant formula has been imported into the UK." The Agency added that it would continue to monitor the situation.
  • CFIA issued an advisory to Canadians to avoid purchasing infant formula manufactured in China, which may be found in some ethnic food stores. Canadian inspectors are checking retail stores for the imported baby formula, and CFIA has initiated a border watch. The advisory also indicated that Health Canada had contacted Canada's four major infant formula manufacturers to confirm that none of them had used ingredients from China. T&T Supermarket, a major Chinese supermarket chain, announced that it was removing two yogurt drinks manufactured by Mengniu – one of the large Chinese dairy companies implicated in the melamine probe – from its store shelves. T&T has stores in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. 
  • FDA issued a Health Advisory to US consumers, warning that infant milk powder formula available in some ethnic stores might contain melamine. The federal agency urged consumers to avoid using the imported infant formula. Milk powder from China is not an approved ingredient for infant formula produced in the United States. 
  • New Zealand has begun a random sampling of milk-containing products from China sold in Asian supermarkets.

There's bound to be more repercussions as the scope of China's adulterated dairy scandal becomes more clearly defined.

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