Taiwan tightens controls on Chinese diary products in milk scare

Business Materials 14 September 2008 21:28 (UTC +04:00)

Taiwan will tighten safety controls on Chinese dairy products following a contaminated milk powder health scare, a government official said on Sunday, reported dpa.

Government spokeswoman Vanessa Shih said that Taiwan has banned the import of all products from the Chinese Sanlu Group, which reportedly had produced milk powder contaminated with melamine, a toxin found in fertilizers and cleaning products.

The new controls will require importers of Chinese diary products to submit a certificate proving their imports do not contain products from Sanlu.

"We are also seeking to establish a mechanism with China to ensure the safety of food products exported by China to Taiwan," she said.

Some 25 tons of Sanlu milk powder were imported by Taiwan in June. The Chinese firm said that it issued a recall of 700 tons of its milk powder on Thursday.

As of Sunday, the contaminated baby formula made by Sanlu has left at least 432 Chinese children sick, with some having developed kidney problems. Sanlu has not exported the contaminated milk powder abroad except to Taiwan.

Out of the 25 tons of Sanlu milk powder sold to Taiwan, Taiwan has traced 15 tons distributed to nine counties and cities, but it has all been used in making bread, desserts, coffee creamer and fertilizer.

No children have been reported as being adversely affected by the milk powder.

Lin Chieh-liang, a toxicologist from the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, said melamine poses fewer health hazards to adults than to babies because adults have stronger kidneys.