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Posts Tagged ‘Melamine’

Ministry sets safe melamine limits in food

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Hanoi (VNA)- The Ministry of Health made an announcement on Dec 16 regarding safe levels of melamine in food, based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards.

The safety limits have been set at 1.0 mg per kg of food for infants under 36 months of age and 2.5 mg per kilo for other foodstuffs.

These limits were set in response to the WHO’s Dec. 12 declaration on safe limits of melamine in food, which could be present through accidentally coming into contact with foodstuffs through plastic packaging or indirect contact. The ministry consulted leading national experts to set the safety limits.

The limits will be adjusted if the WHO and the UN World Food Organisation (FAO) announce additional scientific findings regarding melamine or other chemical substances, said the ministry.

In addition, the Health Ministry has placed a strict ban on adding melamine to food under any conditions.

The ministry reported that over 400,000 tonnes of melamine-tainted dairy products have recently been confiscated, of which more than 17,000 tonnes were destroyed and 13 tonnes re-exported. Following the announcement of the safe limits, some 104 tonnes of confiscated food of clear origin with permitted contamination rates were released.

Tests have been conducted on 1,226 samples, of which 32 proved positive for melamine and 1,234 negative.

All this has contributed to a safer milk market for consumers, where dairy products of unclear origin are no longer found, said the Health Ministry.–

Ministry sets melamine limits

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2008 at 4:32 pm


Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Health issued regulations governing the maximum amount of naturally – occurring or cross – contaminated melamine allowed in food on Dec. 12, a week after the World Health Organisation (WHO) set its tolerable daily intake for the chemical.

The regulation prohibits adding melamine to food in any form or content and for any purpose.

The limit is not more than 1 milligramme for each kilo of food for children less than three years old and not more than 2.5mg for each kilo of other food.

The limit will be changed if more scientific evidence about the toxicity of melamine and related substances is provided by WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

It applies to all organisations and individuals in Vietnam who produce, manufacture, trade, import and export food.

Vietnam Food Administration director Nguyen Cong Khan said the maximum allowable contamination was not a safety limit but a limit people could tolerate.

The regulation will come into effect as of Saturday, Dec. 27.

WHO announced that the tolerable daily intake for melamine should be limited to 0.2mg per kilogramme of body weight on Dec. 5.

This means a person of 50kg can tolerate up to 10mg of melamine a day.
Although WHO emphasised that melamine is a contaminant that should not be in food, its presence is sometimes unavoidable.-

Melamine levels for food to follow WHO

In Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Health is preparing a melamine standard for food.

The amount will be set following a World Health Organisation (WHO) finding that 0.2 milligrammes of the chemical per kilo of body weight per day is tolerable.

This means that a 50 kg person can safely consume 10mg of melamine daily.

“ Vietnam will now consider a safe limit for melamine based on careful calculations,” said the ministry’s Food Hygiene and Safety Department director Nguyen Cong Khan.

It will then publicise the allowed amount,” he said.

The department’s deputy director, Nguyen Thi Khanh Tran, said the ministry had yet to allow any amount of melamine in food.

But the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s recently announced limit of 2.5 mg of melamine in each kilo of animal feed was reasonable.

The WHO limit is lower than that in some industrialised countries.

The European Union’s limit is 0.5mg per kg of body weight and Canada ’s, 0.35mg.

WHO Vietnam representative Jean-Marc Olive said any country that set a melamine limit should sign an agreement with export countries to ensure the limit is honoured.

Importing countries should ask export countries to regularly check and supervise quality and licensing, he said.

Samples taken from the imports should be regularly tested.

Melamine is added to food to artificially boost its protein levels but too much can cause kidney damage.-

Melamine scandal hits local farmers

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2008 at 5:02 pm

by Thu Giang







A cow farmer in Gia Lam District, Ha Noi keeps fresh milk in good condition. — VNS Photo Truong Vi

HA NOI — Waiting in front of a dairy milk agent in Phu Dong Commune in the capital city’s outlying district of Gia Lam, 45-year-old Vu Duc Dac looks dejected. The tanker that usually comes to buy his milk doesn’t seem to be coming today.


Dac is one of many dairy farmers who are increasingly waiting in vain all day and night at Vu Van Thuc’s dairy milk agent, one of three in the commune, where the farmers wait for their turn to sell milk. A drop in business started one week ago after some milk products at the Hanoimilk Company, which included milk imported from China, were discovered to contain melamine.


Domestic consumers boycotted the company’s products, forcing Hanoimilk to reduce the volume of milk they purchased from cow breeders even though local supplies are thought to be safe.


Dac has three cows which can produce 60 litres of milk per day. Now he says he is forced to throw away milk that he can’t sell as local milk agents are unable to find customers.


“I don’t know what to do at home,” says Dac. “I can’t hold back my tears when I see my wife drinking milk instead of eating rice.”


There are more than 560 households breeding 1,300 cows in the commune, of which 700 cows produce 9-9.5 tonnes of milk each day. About 300 dairy households face financial difficulties after the scandal.


Chairman of Phu Dong Cow Breeding Co-operative Hoang Trong Nguyen says Hanoimilk previously bought 5 to 6.5 tonnes of milk per day, Vinamilk bought 1.5 tonnes and the remainder was bought by International Milk Joint Stock Company.


“After Hanoimilk reported that it was going to reduce the purchase of milk, things got very difficult as we don’t know where to sell our products,” says Nguyen, adding that his co-operative had to throw away over 1 tonne of milk worth VND8 million (US$484). He asked for help from Vinamilk but its representative refused.


Director of Tien Son Milk Processing Factory To Viet Bac says her company only bought milk according to their contract. “We reported the situation of milk in Phu Dong Commune to the corporation, but it’s necessary to wait for the corporation’s plan,” says Bac.


Milk agent Thuc says he has been in touch with many processing units but only some of them have agreed to buy local milk. “Almost all units said they needed to check the quality before buying it. We can wait for them but the milk is only safe for the first three days because we lack preservation facilities.”


Bui Thi Linh, a mother of two, says her family has two cows supplying 40 litres of milk per day. She pays VND150,000 ($9) for feed including mash and grass, and earns about VND250,000 per day.


“My family’s finances are much better than several years ago when we were rice farmers. We can earn VND3 million per month from dairy milk while it was only VND750,000 for six months from rice cultivation,” says Linh.


Linh has borrowed a loan of VND17 million (over $1,000) from the bank to buy cows, with an expectation to pay back the loan by next year.


“Now we can not sell much milk but we still have to feed the cows,” she says. “If this situation lasts much longer, I will have to sell my cows for beef and find another job to earn money to pay back the bank.”


Solution?


According to the Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Liverstock Breeding Department Hoang Kim Giao, the department has proposed milk processing units co-operate with breeders to survive the melamine scandal by buying all milk from local dairy farmers.


Giao confirms that milk in Phu Dong Commune is safe and has no melamine, adding that milk processing units should guide farmers in the best ways to produce safe milk.


” I think the ‘melamine storm’ is a challenge but a chance for people to be more professional in their business. The breeders will have to apply a quality breeding process, if they don’t follow it their products will be taken out of the market,” says Giao.


Chairman of Hanoimilk’s Management Board Tran Dang Tuan says his company’s situation has not improved. All his staff have had their shifts cut.


Tuan says the company still keeps buying milk for cow breeders under contract but in fact the company was in danger of bankruptcy as the value of the unsold milk had risen to about VND30 billion (US$176,000).


The company has bought fresh milk from breeders in Quang Ninh, Hung Yen, Bac Ninh and Tuyen Quang provinces and Ba Vi Commune in former Ha Tay Province and Phu Dong Commune in Ha Noi, the last being one of areas to suffer the most from the melamine scandal.


“If customers come back to our products, we will continue developing our business with Phu Dong Commune, which has a climate suitable for cows,” says Tuan.


Relevant sectors have tried to help breeders overcome the difficulties, which many were not ready for. The breeders are now the most vulnerable, as they are unable to publicise the safety of their products while relevant sectors have not built an adequate and timely information network to properly deal with the melamine scandal. —