Friday, October 10, 2008

China sets new standards for dairy industry

China's State Council issued a series of quality control regulations for dairy products on Thursday. The move was prompted by the country's contaminated milk scandal.

The regulations tighten control of how milk-yielding animals are bred, how raw milk is purchased and the production and sales of dairy food.

There will also be more severe punishment for people who violate safety standards and quality control departments that fail to fulfill duties.

Relevant officials will also be punished if dairy food safety incidents occur.

The regulations state that quality watchdogs will now be required to carry out regular inspections of dairy products. Law-breaking producers will be blacklisted and ousted publicly.

Health authorities under the State Council will now be responsible for setting up national safety standards for dairy foods. Those standards will limit pathogenic animalcule, pesticide residue, veterinary drug residue and other hazardous substances in dairy products. There will also be new hygiene requirements for dairy producers along with standardized national quality testing methods.

"Any non-food chemicals or hazardous substances are prohibited from being added into raw milk in its production, purchase, storage, transport and sales," the State Council said.

Raw milk-purchasing stations will now need approval from local authorities to operate. The regulations state that stations should be run by dairy food producers, milk-yielding animal farms or milk farm cooperatives. Other organizations and individuals are banned from collecting raw milk

The new regulations go into effect Thursday.

Also this week, the Ministry of Health issued new limits on melamine levels in dairy products. A maximum 2.5 milligrams per kilogram was allowed for liquid milk, milk powder and food products containing at least 15 percent milk.

Contaminated baby formula has killed at least three infants in China and left more than 53,000 children with urinary tract problems, including kidney stones.

So far, 27 people have been arrested over the scandal.


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