Archive for the ‘dairy’ Category

China Announces Food Safety Rules

November 20, 2008

The Chinese government, struggling to contain the fallout from a scandal over contaminated milk and eggs, announced a wide range of food safety measures on Thursday aimed at reining in abuses in the dairy industry.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, issued several new rules it says will govern all aspects of the industry, from cow breeding and animal feed to the packaging and sales of milk.

By Andrew Jacobs
The New York Times

An official prepared to destroy confiscated milk powder in Shanghai last week. Photo: Reuters

Since September, when Chinese-made milk powder was found to be adulterated with the industrial chemical melamine, at least four infants who drank the formula have died and more than 50,000 children have fallen ill. On Thursday, China’s Health Ministry said that more than 1,000 infants were still hospitalized with kidney damage, Reuters reported. The scandal has led to recalls of milk products across the world, embarrassed the Chinese government and devastated domestic dairy farmers and milk producers.

“The crisis has put China’s diary industry in peril and exposed major problems existing in the quality control and supervision of the industry,” said an official with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, according to a posting on the agency’s Web site.

In announcing the new measures, the government said it would issue new laws and standards by next October, and that by 2011, “the goal is to have well-bred cows and a mass-producing dairy industry,” according to Xinhua, the official news agency. The government said it would also provide loans and grants to dairy farmers and milk producers struggling to survive the crisis.

This is not the first time regulators have pledged to clean up the nation’s fast-growing agriculture industry. A similar cry erupted early last year when it was discovered that melamine-tainted pet food ingredients from China had sickened thousands of cats and dogs in the United States. At that time, the government promptly banned melamine as an animal feed additive and declared the problem under control.

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China to overhaul battered dairy industry

November 20, 2008

China announced a complete overhaul of its dairy industry Thursday to improve safety at every step — from cow breeding to milk sales — saying its worst food quality scandal in years had revealed “major problems” in quality control.

Changes will be made within the next year in production, purchasing, processing and sales, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

Li Xiaoyan near her mother Li Aiqing at their home in Liti village, ... 
Li Xiaoyan near her mother Li Aiqing at their home in Liti village, near Runan, central China’s Henan province, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008. Li Xiaoyan’s nine month old twin sister, Li Xiaokai who has been drinking a brand of milk formula linked to the melamine scandal died from kidney failure.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

“The crisis has put China’s dairy industry in peril and exposed major problems existing in the quality control and supervision of the industry,” it quoted an official at China’s top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, as saying.

Milk and milk products tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical, have been blamed in the deaths of at least three infants and have sickened more than 50,000 others. The government has detained dozens of people in the scandal, but there have been no court cases so far.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, said the Health Ministry will issue new quality and safety standards for dairy products, while the Agriculture Ministry will draft inspection standards for melamine and other toxins in animal feed. The flow and delivery of dairy products will also be tracked, it said in a statement.

The breadth and speed of the proposed changes echo actions taken last year, when a slew of Chinese exports — from toothpaste to toys — were found to contain high levels of potentially deadly chemicals.

After an initial unwillingness to acknowledge problems, authorities threw themselves into a campaign to protect export industries and bolster the country’s reputation as the world’s manufacturing base.

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U.S. says food, drug inspection access in China improving

November 19, 2008

U.S. officials opened the first overseas Food and Drug Administration office in Beijing on Wednesday as they gear up for a long battle to ensure the quality of food, drug and feed imports from China.

The eight FDA workers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will set up a process for pre-certifying and inspecting imports from China, which has hundreds of thousands of food processors and drug manufacturers.

A series of food safety scandals in China, where thousands of babies fell ill after melamine was introduced into milk formula to cheat protein tests, has triggered alarm in the United States, which imports about 15 percent of the food it consumes.

By Lucy Hornby, Reuters

A laboratory researcher works at the food safety inspection ...
A laboratory researcher works at the food safety inspection center in Beijing July 18, 2007.(China Daily/Reuters)

Problems with melamine-tainted dairy products from China were so pervasive that the United States issued an import alert, which force importers to certify that the food was problem-free before entering U.S. markets. A similar alert has been in effect on Chinese seafood since last year.

U.S. inspectors have complained in the past of limited access and information when investigating safety disputes with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers, but U.S. Secretary of Health Mike Leavitt said cooperation was improving.

Access was “clearly spelled out” in agreements between U.S. and Chinese authorities, Leavitt told reporters.

“Heparin, for example, was not one of the drugs under the agreement but those protocols were used and there were U.S. inspectors and Chinese inspectors together visiting the points of production,” he said. “Progress is being made.”

Chinese-made heparin, a blood thinner, was blamed for fatalities and adverse reactions in U.S. and German patients, prompting a recall by Baxter International Inc. early this year.

The FDA offices would try to identify and train laboratories that can certify shipments for faster clearance into the United States, with the goal of ultimately accepting inspections by Chinese quarantine and inspection agency AQSIQ.

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China Widens Food Tests on Signs of New Contamination, Poison

October 31, 2008

Chinese regulators said Friday that they were widening their investigation into contaminated food amid growing signs that an industrial chemical called melamine had leached into the nation’s animal feed supplies, posing even deeper health risks to consumers after the recent tainted milk scandal.

By David Barboza
The New York Times
The announcement came after food safety tests earlier this week found that eggs produced in three different provinces in China were contaminated with melamine, a chemical that is blamed for causing kidney stones and renal failure in infants. The tests have led to recalls of eggs and consumer warnings.

The reports are another serious blow to China’s agriculture industry, which is already struggling to cope with its worst food safety scandal in decades after melamine tainted milk supplies sickened over 50,000 children, caused at least four deaths and led to global recalls of goods produced with Chinese dairy products earlier this fall.

Above: A worker placed a notice that read “No melamine contained” on egg crates at a major eggs production factory in suburban Beijing on Friday. Photo by Andy Wong, Associated Press.

The cases are fueling global concerns about contaminated Chinese food. In Hong Kong, food safety officials announced this week that they would be testing a wider variety of foods for melamine, including vegetables, flour and meat products.

But food safety experts have also asked consumers to remain calm because while melamine-tainted milk has hospitalized thousands in China, there are no known cases thus far of consumers becoming seriously ill from eating melamine-tainted eggs.

Hong Kong officials said melamine was found in higher than permissible levels in eggs imported from China, but that a child would have to eat about two dozen eggs in a single day to become ill.

Still, if eggs, milk and animal feed supplies are tainted, there is the specter of an even wider array of foods that could come under scrutiny for contamination, everything from pork and chicken supplies to bread, biscuits, eggs, cakes and seafood.

While China is not a major exporter of dairy products, it has one of the world’s fastest-growing dairy industries and it is also one of the world’s largest exporters of food and food ingredients, including meats, seafood, beverages and vitamins.

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China’s Poisoned Milk Hits Vietnam Especially Hard

October 17, 2008

After China itself, perhaps Vietnam suffered most from the melamine tainted milk, formula and other dairy products from China.  That’s because Vietnam produces only about 20% of its own milk and the price of dairy products in Vietnam is the highest in nthe world…..

Below from Vietnam NetBridge
Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Dang Vang, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly’s Science and Technology  in Vietnam had this to say: 

Every nation in the world has a demand for dairy products, including sterilised fresh milk. The quality of dairy products has to be high, but the prices of products have to be low enough to ensure that people, including children and poor students, can have milk.

In many countries in the world, like Japan and countries in Europe, children always drink sterilised fresh milk, as the countries apply a policy on developing herds of milk cows, which allows them to satisfy domestic demand with 100% of domestic sourced milk.

Cows wait to be milked at a dairy farm near Hohhot, northwestern ... 
Cows wait to be milked at a dairy farm near Hohhot, northwestern China’s Inner Mongolia province, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. Alarmed by the growing public dismay and international recalls over its tainted dairy products, China’s government pledged this week to overhaul the troubled industry by monitoring every link in the process that brings raw milk from the farm to the family kitchen.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In the region, Taiwan only has a population of 23mil, but its fresh milk output is 885,000 tonnes a year, which means that every person has over 38kg of milk every year.

What about Vietnam? With 120,000 cows and 250,000 tonnes of fresh milk a year, Vietnamese people only have 2.9kg of fresh milk a year.

It is clear that the fresh milk output is too low. Vietnam now has to import milk powder to make liquid milk. 1kg of milk powder can make 8.3 litres of liquid milk. The 250,000 tonnes of material milk can meet only 21.5% of the demand for materials for production, while the other 80% needs to be fed by imports.

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China reassures Taiwan consumers on milk safety

October 15, 2008

By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China sought to reassure Taiwanese consumers that its dairy products were safe Wednesday, a day after authorities confirmed that a baby in Hong Kong developed kidney stones from consuming milk and cookies laced with melamine.

A Chinese customer chooses dairy products in a supermarket in ...
Chinese customer chooses dairy products in a supermarket in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu province, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008. China is ordering all liquid and powdered milk manufactured before Sept. 14 to be taken off the shelves for melamine testing, the first time it has issued a blanket recall of products since the tainted dairy scandal broke last month.(AP Photo/Color China Photo)

Spokesman Yang Yi of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said at a news conference in Beijing that mainland authorities were very concerned about the scandal, in which contaminated infant formula killed four babies and sickened tens of thousands of children nationwide.

“We have taken a serious approach,” Yang said. “China has launched a thorough investigation into this issue to help restore the trust of Taiwanese consumers.”

After China’s melamine tainting scandal broke last month, Taiwanese authorities launched a sweeping inspection of milk powders and related food items. More than 160 products containing Chinese milk and vegetable-based proteins have been removed from stores.

Taiwanese and Chinese food safety authorities have agreed to set up a hot line to inform each other of food safety emergencies.

The Chinese milk scare and related economic losses have led to renewed Taiwanese animosity toward rival China. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949, and Beijing still claims the island as a part of its territory.

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Standards for food exports: Vietnam on remote island

October 23, 2007

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam is making great efforts to build up sets of standards for exports, especially food and farm produce, in harmony with international standards.Vietnam’s commercial affairs division in Japan has continuously sent good news from Japan in the last few weeks.Japan may import meat-made products from Vietnam, and Vietnam won a bid to provide 21,000 tonnes of rice to the country. Until now, Vietnam has not been able to export pork-made products to Japan as Vietnam was listed among the countries where foot-and-mouth disease prevailed. However, Vietnamese enterprises have been warned that Japan sets very high requirements on the hygiene of food imports.
 Rice 02.jpg
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has set up 29 requirements on meat imports from Vietnam. Vissan and Duc Viet are the two companies which are believed to be eligible to export products to Japan. The commercial affairs division said that it would persuade the ministry to send staffs to Vietnam to examine production and assess product quality before signing official agreements on importing meat-made products from Vietnam.Every year, Japan imports $200mil worth of processed meat products, and the imports are expected to increase in the coming years due to the higher domestic labour cost. Imports increased gradually from 3.2% in 2002 to 10% in 2006. The main meat exporters to Japan are China, the US, Italy, Thailand, Germany and Spain.Japan now imposes taxes of 8.5% on ham and 10% on sausage.

 As for rice exports, Vietnam has won bids to export 66,050 tonnes of rice so far this year. However, 31,050 tonnes of rice were refused as the consignments were found containing Acetamiprid at higher-than-allowed levels (0.01 pm). As a result, Japan has decided to examine 30% of Vietnam-sourced rice. However, with efforts by the two sides, deliveries of rice to fulfill the contracts were finally completed.Vietnam was able to avoid the dreaded inspection of 100% of rice imports. The fact that Vietnam, once again, has won a bid to export 21,000 tonnes of rice shows that Vietnamese rice exporters have regained the confidence of Japanese importers and consumers. 

Integrating in standardisation to boost exports  Experts have pointed out that in the period of global integration, instead of protecting local production with tariffs, countries will set technical barriers. Vietnam will have no other choice than integrating in standardisation if it wants to boost exports. The problem lies in the fact that there exists a big gap between Vietnam’s and the world’s standards.Soybean sauce is a typical example. According to EU standards, the maximum recommended daily intake of 3-MCPD is 0.02mg/kg of body weight, or 50 times lower than the standard applied in Vietnam (1mg/kg of body weight/day). Soybean sauce produced in Vietnam has a high level of 3-MCPD, and thus is not recommended for use in the EU. International experts have advised Vietnam to bring its standards closer to international standards. 3-MCPD not only exists in soybean source, but in many other Vietnamese export items as well like cereals, dairy products, meat and fish. Otherwise, Vietnam will close the door to the world’s market on itself.