China goods ban widens

23 09 2008

Reports by ROYCE CHEAH, LESTER KONG and CHEOK LI PENG

PETALING JAYA: The Government has widened its ban on dairy products imported from China to include confectionery which contain milk, chocolate (including white chocolate) and other food which contain milk.

The decision was based on the latest information received from Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) which found melamine in “White Rabbit Creamy Candy”, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry’s food quality and safety department director Noraini Mohd Othman said the widened ban would include “White Rabbit Creamy Candy” and flour-based confections like biscuits.

“The ministry will seize such products found in the local market,” she said.

Noraini said Malaysia already had an existing ban on any milk or milk powder from China, adding that although the country had imported dairy products from China, the milk in these goods was sourced from Australia and New Zealand.

“As a preventive measure, the ministry has also imposed a Level 6 or automatic rejection on all imported baby milk powder, milk and dairy products via the Food Safety Information System.”

Noraini advised consumers to be aware of the types of items which have been banned and to dispose of any existing goods they might already have.

“Retailers are also advised to report to the nearest state health department or office if such products are sold on their premises,” she said, adding that importers and agents have to stop distributing such products and immediately contact her department.

Noraini said the ministry would also take food samples from across the country to check for the presence of melamine, adding that if it were detected, those involved in the distribution chain could be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed a maximum of 10 years, or both.

Consumers can contact the ministry at 03-8883-3503 for more information.

On Friday, Singapore’s AVA suspended the import of all milk and milk products from China and instructed retailers and importers to recall such products.

Three products were found to contain melamine – “White Rabbit Creamy Candy”, “Yili Brand Choice Dairy Fruit Bar Yogurt” and “Dutch Lady” strawberry-flavoured milk.

Source: The Star Online

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