January 28, 2010

Malaysia reports no melamine contamination

Despite new cases discovered in China, there are no cases of melamine contamination in milk and dairy products in Malaysia.
Malaysia Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said this was because the Malaysian authorities had never issued import permits to the three companies involved in the melamine scandal in southern China.
The public need not worry as the government had been monitoring the quality of food products, both locally-produced and imported, including those from China, he said.
Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, Liow said the ministry had directed that milk and dairy products from China undergo Level Four Inspection (Surveillance) for melamine analysis, beginning January 6, through the Food Safety Information System of Malaysia.
He was commenting on media reports which stated that the Chinese government had ordered dairy products sold by the three companies to be withdrawn from the market after being found to contain melamine.
Liow said, 515 food samples tested last year were found to have been below the action level for melamine, 1mg/kg for infant formula and 2.5mg/kg for other food products. The samples comprised various food products from China, including milk, infant formula, ice-cream and yogurt. 
In 2008, six infants died while thousands of others fell sick in China due to melamine-contaminated milk.
Melamine is an organic compound often used to produce, among others, melamine resin, cleaning products, glue and fertilisers and is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Chronic exposure may also cause reproductive damage, kidney stones and other renal failure.

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