30 Oct 2008

Fonterra says tests clear milk powder in Bangladesh

10:26 pm on 30 October 2008

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra says independent tests have confirmed that Anlene milk powder in Bangladesh is free from melamine.

A Bangladesh agency had found traces of the industrial chemical in eight dairy brands it tested, including Fonterra's milk powder from New Zealand, that was sent to Bangladesh and packaged into the Anlene brand locally.

The tests were done in the wake of the milk contamination scandal in China. Four children have died and more than 53,000 have been made ill with kidney problems after consuming milk laced with melamine to cheat quality tests.

At the heart of the scandal in China was milk powder made by Sanlu Group, which is 43% owned by Fonterra.

Fonterra says results on Thursday from the Health Sciences Authority in Singapore on samples from Bangladesh have come back negative for melamine.

It believes Bangladesh government tests on the product, which are expected to be released in the next few days, will also be negative.

Melamine found in eggs

Hong Kong has detected melamine in yet another batch of chicken eggs from mainland China, the third such find in the city in under a week, prompting the former British colony to urge Beijing to take action.

Melamine has been found in a variety of Chinese-made products from milk and chocolate bars to yoghurt exported around the world, including egg products in South Korea, leading to items being pulled from shop shelves.

The level of melamine found in the eggs, from central Hubei province, was 3.1 milligrams per kilogram, above the limit of 2.5 in Hong Kong. The first batch of tainted eggs, produced by Hanwei Group in the northeastern port city of Dalian, was detected over the weekend.

Problem eggs were also found in Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday. The eggs, from China's northern Shanxi province, contained 3.5 mg melamine in every kilogram.

The discovery of melamine in eggs has triggered more alarm, as it confirms what experts have long suspected - that the chemical is deely embedded in the human food chain.

Melamine and its derivatives are widely used in animal feed and pesticides in China but no one knows how harmful they can be to people if they are exposed to it over a long period of time.

Premier Wen Jiabao, at the closing of an Asia-Europe summit on Saturday, vowed China would do all it could to bring the quality of Chinese food products up to international standard. Chinese officials had already said the problem had been contained.

Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, pledged to broaden its checks on meat, vegetables and processed food last week.