October 9, 2008


New melamine detection service available to EU food and drink sector
A new melamine detection and testing service is targeted at companies in the EU food and drink sector, including food and ingredient manufacturers and food importers, according to food research agency Leatherhead Food International.


The agency said the service is based on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developmental method and was previously used to detect for melamine in moist pet food and soy products.


The agency said it has validated three matrices for testing of chocolate, hard confectionery and powdered baby food.


The service enables products to be validated for safety in regards to potential melamine contamination, which would allow food and drink processors and importers to reassure retailers and consumers, according to Marc Esselen, head of marketing and communications at the agency.


"We will develop matrices for other products based on the level of demand from clients; while we are not expecting to be inundated with requests, we have noted a growing demand for the service in the last few days," said Esselen, who added that the agency aims to deliver a result from a sample within two days.


Last month, milk in China was found contaminated with melamine, which led to the deaths of four infants and sickened 53,000 others. Products from more than 20 dairy companies in China were also found to contain melamine, and the scandal has sent ripples across the globe as countries began to test for the chemical in milk products imported from China. The scandal deepens when melamine was detected in food products such as biscuits and sweets, and even in Chinese vegetables.


Due to the scandal, EU member states are now required to inspect any Chinese products containing more than 15 percent milk. The European Food Safety Authority said the threat of harmful melamine intake from these composite - or milk containing - products remain low. However, the European Commission has ruled that any Chinese product found to contain more than 2.5mg per kg of melamine will be destroyed.

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