Toxic Chinese milk products may have entered India

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Toxic Chinese milk products may have entered India

Postby vet » Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:58 pm

TIMES OF INDIA
NEW DELHI: Even as the government has imposed a ban till December on the import of milk products from China, the quantity of such dairy items that
entered the Indian market on the eve of Diwali has raised concern as most of it is believed to have been passed on to consumers even as other countries have recalled such goods from stores.

While in 2007-08, milk and milk products imported from China was only 7,062 kg, according to figures from the commerce ministry, such imports surged to more than 88,000 kg in the first six months of this fiscal upto September 2008.

After finding out that high melamine presence — an additive used for making plastics and fertilizers — in infant milk, chocolates and other dairy items had caused several infant deaths in China, the government had imposed a ban on imports for three months.

The government had also issued advisories to state governments to examine contamination of such imported and domestic goods and to take immediate action. The advisories issued to state health authorities included instructions to carry out sample testing of dairy plants for any melamine contamination.

Though import of dairy items from China was negligible till the previous year, it suddenly picked up in 2008 after huge response was generated in the Indian market over great demand for cheaper Chinese goods in comparison to alternatives available from the domestic industry.

Milk products import from China was a paltry 186 kg in 2005-06 which rose to 665 kg the next year. However, the imports grew to more than 7,000 kg in 2007-08 and stood at 88,000 kg in the first six months of the current financial year before it was banned.

Children who eat chocolates and biscuits with high milk content infected with melamine run the risk of organ failure or other long-term effect that may cause irreparable damage to other body organs.

After the recent discovery of melamine contamination was widely publicized, it was found that the controversy was not new as far as China was concerned. A similar contamination in 2004 had allegedly led to the death of 14
children in China. Like the huge jump in Indian import figures, Chinese dairy exports are believed to have grown by more than 90% in 2007 to more than $350 million.
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