The recent seizure of 76 tons of melamine-tainted dairy products in China has again sparked concern over the country’s food safety system.
While it remains unclear whether the recently-seized dairy was left over from previous incidents, or a new batch, or whether any illnesses have been connected to the dairy, Chinese government officials sought to assuage worries last week, again pledging to improve enforcement of newly revamped food safety laws.
“China attaches great importance to food safety, particularly dairy quality and safety,” Deputy Secretary for Health Supervision Chen Rui told reporters at a recent conference at the Ministry of Health. “The ministry will continue to organize the national dairy safety standards to track evaluations, listen to the food production companies and consumer opinion, and constantly revise and improve the national dairy safety standards.”

Striking another tone, a senior Chinese health official said last Monday that more food safety incidents, like melamine-tainted milk scandals, are likely given China’s size and unbalanced development.
“With such a huge territory and population in China, it’s hard to avoid all food safety threats and to put all unscrupulous businessmen under scrutiny,” said Su Zhi, director of the health supervision bureau under the Ministry of Health at an international food safety forum last week. Su also said the Chinese government would investigate every food safety incident and punish responsible parties.
Xinhua, an official Chinese media outlet, reported that Su refused to comment on whether the recently seized dairy products were leftovers from the 2008 scandal, which sickened over 300,000 and killed six infants.

After a 10-day food safety raid last February, which turned up more melamine-laced milk, the Chinese government announced that most of the tainted milk had been destroyed.

Melamine is an industrial chemical used in many plastic products. The chemical is an attractive means of economic adulteration for milk producers because it makes watered-down, low quality milk appear to have a higher protein content in certain tests. When ingested, melamine can cause bladder or kidney stones, bladder cancer, and acute kidney failure.

China’s national food safety office responded to the recent melamine raid by announcing it will restart a nationwide overhaul of milk powder, including its source, manufacturing, storage, and sales, according to Xinhua.

  • Ann Quinn, consumer

    From the Chinese infant formula recall of 2008, melamine, it’s
    not just in milk products. Listing of actual food types and label ingredients recalled for possible melamine contamination
    in 2008 in Asia and around the world:
    List of melamine suspect foods:
    baby food
    baby milk powder products
    bakery goods (cakes, cookies, crackers,
    cream buns)
    baking mixes
    beef (from animal feed)
    biscuits (aka cookies, crackers)
    body-building supplements
    cheese sauces
    chips (coated with cheese, sour cream)
    chicken (from animal feed)
    chocolate candy bars
    chocolate chip cookies
    chocolate milk
    coffee beverages (canned)
    coffee creamer or whitener
    colostrum (clinical product)
    confectioners cookies
    cooked pasta
    condensed milk
    corn, minced
    corn, organic cracked
    cream products
    creamy candies
    dairy-based candies
    dairy-based desserts
    drinking yogurt
    fish raised on farms (from animal feed)
    formula milk powder
    frozen confections
    frozen desserts
    goats (from animal feed)
    hogs (from animal feed)
    hydrolysates (clinical product)
    ice cream
    infant formula
    infant milk powder
    instant coffee (containing nondairy creamer
    vegetable protein)
    instant coffee drinks (containing milk products)
    lamb (from animal feed)
    mayonnaise (possible egg products)
    milk (fresh, papaya beverages, chocolate
    and strawberry flavored)
    milk beverage
    milk candy
    milk coffee beverages
    milk drink
    milk powder
    milk raw
    milk tablets
    milk tea (containing nondairy creamer
    vegetable protein)
    non-dairy creamer
    nutritional powder products
    plastic packaging (which may leach melamine
    into foods)
    pork (from animal feed)
    pork buns
    poultry (from animal feed)
    probiotics (clinical product)
    protein bars
    powdered tea drinks
    raw milk
    rice balls
    salad dressing (with egg products)
    salad dressings (creamy)
    seasoning (with egg products)
    sheepmeats (from animal feed)
    shrimp raised on farms (from animal feed)
    snack flavorings
    snack foods
    soup chicken-and-corn (containing nondairy
    creamer vegetable protein)
    sour cream
    sports drinks (especially high protein)
    sweets (aka candies)
    tempura (added Oct. 29 08)
    ultra heat treated (UHT) milk
    vegetables including:
    Java waterdropwort
    mixed frozen
    tomato paste
    vegetables (sprayed with pesticides
    cyromazine or Veterzine)
    vegetarian ham (added Oct. 29 08)
    whipping cream
    white chocolate
    yogurt drinks
    yogurt ice bars
    List of melamine suspect label ingredients:
    albumen powder
    ammonium bicarbonate
    anhydrous milk fat
    buttermilk powder
    calcium caseinate
    casein derivatives
    cereal flours
    cheese concentrate
    cheese powder
    cocoa powder
    condensed milk (added Oct. 28 08)
    condensed whey (added Oct. 28 08)
    corn by-products
    corn gluten
    corn gluten meal
    corn, minced
    corn, organic cracked
    corn meal
    corn protein
    cottonseed meal
    dairy powder
    demineralized/partially demineralized whey powders (Oct. 28 08)
    dried egg powder
    dried milk (added Oct. 28 08)
    dried skim milk
    duck’s yolk powder
    egg powder
    flavor additives
    fermented soy powder
    frozen gluten
    lactose powder
    liquid milk
    malt extract
    milk derivative
    milk fat
    milk protein
    milk protein concentrate aka (MPC)
    milled wheat
    milled rice
    mung bean protein
    non-dairy creamer
    non-fat dry milk
    nonfat milk powder
    permeate powder (added Oct. 28 08)
    plant proteins (corn protein, soy protein)
    powdered baking ammonia
    powdered milk
    powdered milk protein
    prepared edible fat
    protein powder (added Oct. 29 08)
    rice flour
    rice gluten
    rice meal
    milled rice products
    rice protein
    rice protein concentrate
    skim milk
    skim milk powder
    sodium caseinate
    sodium caseinate (a milk derivative)
    soy bean Meal/Powder/Gluten/Protein Isolate
    soybean meal
    soy gluten
    soy isoflavone
    soy meal
    soy protein
    soy protein powder
    soya milk product
    ultrafiltered concentrates
    vegetable protein
    vegetable protein products
    vegetable protein meat extenders
    wheat flour
    wheat flour gluten
    wheat gluten
    wheat gluten, vital
    wheat meal
    wheat starch
    whey powder
    whey protein
    whey protein concentrate
    whole milk powder
    yolk liquid;msg95654#msg95654