October 31, 2008

Vietnam finds melamine in fishmeal imported from China


Tests on 240 tonnes of fish meal imported from China has found traces of the melamine, Vietnamese health authorities said Thursday ( October 30, 2008).


The melamine-tainted fishmeal was imported in June and July the Ho Chi Minh City's Bureau of Quality Management and Fisheries Resources Protection said. The exporter of the shipment is unknown.

The consignments, licensed by Chinese authorities, contained a melamine concentration of 0.59 percent to 2.24 percent.

Vietnam has no laws restricting levels of melamine in foods, a toxic chemical that has sickened thousands of babies in China recently.

The HCMC bureau said Thursday it had asked for instructions from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on how to handle the shipment.

With the identity of two Chinese exporting companies unknown, it would be difficult to return the shipment, the bureau said.

A task force from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will today begin inspecting eggs on sale at markets in the northern province of Lang Son, which borders China.

Experts believe Vietnam's eggs could not have been tainted with melamine, but egg distributors in the country are now anxious to prove their products are safe.

Earlier, the HCMC Department of Science and Technology discovered 80 out of 400 samples of animal feed materials were contaminated with melamine.

Vietnamese authorities on Wednesday began to test eggs for melamine after melamine-tainted eggs were discovered in Hong Kong last week.

In just one week of testing, Hong Kong authorities have discovered excessive levels of melamine in eggs from three Chinese companies which exports to the territory.

In China, local authorities have announced melamine presence in at least eggs from at least two companies.

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