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EU bans China soy products for infants and children, industrial chemical found

Posted by Author on December 4, 2008

Reuters via The Guardian, UK, Wednesday, December 3 2008 –

BRUSSELS, Dec 3 (Reuters) – European Union regulators have banned imports of Chinese soy-based food products for infants and young children after an industrial chemical was found in Chinese soybean meal, the EU executive said on Wednesday.

The chemical, melamine, is used in pesticides and plastics. Some months ago, it was the focus of a scandal over milk products that saw several thousands of children fall ill.

Rich in nitrogen, melamine is fairly cheap and can be added to substandard or watered-down milk to fool quality checks, which often use nitrogen to measure protein levels in milk. “Competent authorities in the (EU) member states will have to test all other feed and food containing soya and soya products originating from China before allowing imports,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Only feed and food containing under 2.5 milligrams of melamine per kilogram will be allowed into EU markets. The ban is expected to come into force by the end of this week.

All Chinese consignments of baking powder, or ammonium bicarbonate, will also be tested at EU points of entry after high levels of melamine were found, the statement added.

Last year, the EU imported around 68,000 tonnes of various soy products or products containing soy for a total value of some 34 million euros ($43 million). The imports include soybeans, soybean flour and meal, soya sauce and protein concentrates as well as textured protein substances. The EU has already banned imports of milk and milk products from China, as well as all products originating from China for infants and young children that contain any proportion of milk.

Although the EU does not import milk or milk products from China, the Commission is concerned that composite food products that enter EU markets might contain, or be made from, such items — like biscuits and confectionery, especially chocolate.

EU countries are also obliged to test processed food from China that contains powdered milk.

– The Guardian: EU bans China infant food containing soy products

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