China says all milk exports now safe

Chinese Health Minister Liu Qian (second from right) answers questions from the press.

Chinese Health Minister Liu Qian (second from right) answers questions from the press.


Chinese health minister Liu Qian Friday expressed sadness over the melamine-tainted milk scandal, and hoped that the lessons learned would help them improve their administration and management of food safety. He said the melamine was deliberately added to the milk, but added that they have since recalled all tainted milk products and carefully tested later batches. Notes on the presscon of the Asean health ministers on October 10, 2008.

duque: (reading prepared press statement by asean ministers of health plus the ministers of health of china, japan and korea:

health min exchanged views on 9th health asean mins…trade lib, adverse impact on borderless problems…may contribute to positive and negative implications to health sector…opportune time to discuss health issues…surrounding trade globalization and liberalization…favorable and unfavorable impact…cost saving, affordable access to quality care…shortage of human health resource in originating countries putting at risk the least privileged communities…plan to initiate studies…especially on trade in health services…regional initiative that would bring together health, trade…discuss and develop approaches to address negative impact…addressing emerging health diseases…response mechanisms in place in all asean member states….health ministers welcome progress on regional efforts for prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases…regional initiatives….support call for action toward elimination of rabies by 2020….ministers exchanged views on regional and international concerns…melamine even at minutest amount should never be added deliberately to any food product. condemn unscrupulous business practices and cover up by any entity

Q&A: (words in parentheses are questions).

(which countries in asean affected)
vietnam, singapore, korea, malaysia, pdr lao, indonesia, and

not cambodia, thailand, brunei, myanmar

about five or six in the asean

(what course of action to address) each country has own way of dealing with problem of melamine tainted milk and milk products. like the rp, i should like to believe…can elaborate on response…should like to believe that as we have been doing the testing for melamine on samples we have collected which are limited as of yet to milk and milk products, have continuous testing being conducted to ensure such melamine tainted milk and milk products do not continue to pose threat to public health of respective countries where the melamine issue has affected its people.

(discussed region wide initiative to prevent instances…effective governance of movement of goods that may be harmful to health) no very clear item in agenda that would point out to any regional consideration but i should like to believe each country has depended mainly on regulatory bureaus or offices to ensure that effects of not just melamine tainted products but products that may be contaminated with equally threatening chemicals. by and large feel individual countries’ regulatory capacities have to be upgraded, more investments, greater capacitation, more technology, more pronounced testing capacity…should like to believe most asean member countries do have needed competency as well as capability to ensure these products if and when tainted will be recognized and determined.

(what china intends to do and how address problem) lui qian: first of all i want to say that this milk scandal indeed a severe food safety event. we are saddened by this scandal. it is also a painful lesson for us…chinese govt done to address issue: this contamination of baby formula by melamine mainly happened to baby milk…melamine was deliberately added to fresh milk. the chinese govt attaches great importance to this event launched criminal investigation…response system immediately activated and following measures taken: conduct nationwide screening for infants and babies and to treat those who are sick. secondly, ordered dairy companies to recall all contaminated milk products. thirdly we have…corporate..into justice….govt officials accountable…severely penalize those people who have committed…fourthly we have launched a complete overhaul of dairy production business and working to conduct a whole process quality control of dairy products. and examining the dairy products batch by batch. all the products in the market now have passed safety examination. fifthly reported to who and other international orgs on this problem immediately after the event happened. at the same time we also released the information on problematic products immediately to the public. we have also organized our experts to study the scientific evidence and also consulted experts from who, eu and other intl orgs and based on consensus of experts published the maximum content limit of melamine for dairy products. hope through this lesson we can strenghten admin and management of food safety or continue to maintain the info sharing on food safety with the countries involved.
we are also going to learn at the intl experience and elevate food safety in china to a higher level.

(china ready to compensate victims of melamine products? all products now coming from china are safe? attempt to conceal because of olympics)
if problematic milk is found in market, what we do is seal immediately and put them out of circulation. first this issue should be solved in a business way. the dealers should first contact the export and import companies to solve this problem first. chinese govt ordered relevant companies to recall tainted products, no matter if in china or other countries. if you feel difficulties to do so the govt can help you. contact us through diplomatic channels. the chinese govt will provide the necessary assistance…urge problematic companies to follow market rule and legal precedent to solve this problem.
the issue of milk quality, the chinese state administration of…aqsiq – quality supervision…stationed more than 5,000 examiners in all dairy product companies. these check carefully both the raw material for milk powder as well as finished products. all the products in the market now are safe. as to third question as to info, as soon as…got information, released info immediately to public and to devt organization.

(established maximum amount of melamine allowed in food products. asean says there can’t be any melamine in any food product)
duque: the asean position on matter of melamine tainted milk and milk products…as i have articulated in press statement…health ministers are of common view that melamine even at minutest amount…should never be added…china’s position supports this collective view of asean. what they are saying is that in the context of melamine migration from melamine based plastic wares like several containers made of plastics…when you heat there is a possibility of melamine transferring or migrating from plastic ware to food where it was heated. in that context the us fda and the eu food safety authority have set the tolerable daily intake at .5 kg per kg body weight.

(providing any financial support to those exporting back the melamine contaminated milk) the problematic companies have the responsibility to recall their products even abroad. the chinese govt has urged these companies to do so.

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