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M’sia bans import of confections containing milk from China

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Sept 2008: The import ban on all infant formulas, milk and milk products from China has been extended to confections including chocolates, milk chocolates, white chocolates, sweets and other foods containing milk from the same country.

Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Director Noraini Mohd Othman said the ban also covered "White Rabbit Creamy Candy" from China which had been detected to contain melamine based on the latest information from Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

"The public are advised not to purchase the products stated and dispose of it if it has been bought. Traders should also report to the nearby District Health Office or State Health Department if they have such products in their premises.

"The importers and import agents involved are also required to stop the distribution and contact the Food Safety and Quality Division immediately," she said in a statement here today.

The ministry, she said, would carry out monitoring activities nationwide by taking samples for melamine analysis.

It is an offence under Section 13 of the Food Act 1983 if melamine is detected in foods and anyone involved in food chain, if convicted under the Act, can be fined not exceeding RM100,000 or jailed not more than 10 years of both.

Melamine is a chemical used for making plastics and fertilisers and rich in nitrogen and when mixed with milk, it can make the level of protein higher than usual.

More than a week after it became public, China’s Health Ministry has revealed that nearly 53,000 babies in that country had became ill after drinking melamine-contaminated formula. At least four deaths have also been reported.

Noraini said Malaysia did not import milk and infant formulas from China and this had been verified by the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s Veterinary Services Department which issues import permits for all animal-based products.

"Malaysia also imports milk products from China produced from milk supplies imported from Australia and New Zealand. This is a condition by the Veterinary Services Department in issuing permits for milk products imported from China due to the foot and mouth disease risk on cattle in that country," she said.

She said the public could call the ministry at 03-88833503 to get more information on the current status of the issue. – Bernama

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