Laos: Laos Bans Imports Of China Milk Products

VIENTIANE, LAOS: Laos has temporary stopped the importation of milk products from China after some of the milk products being sold in Vientiane were found tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

The Lao Ministry of Public Health has asked provincial healthcare offices in border provinces and airport staff to temporarily halt the import of milk-flavoured toffees, milk and milk powder from China where four children have died and thousands more sickened from drinking melamine-tainted milk.

Ministry officials are checking markets in Vientiane after many Asian countries found products containing Chinese-sourced milk on shop shelves.

The ministry also warned the public not to buy milk-flavoured candies, milk or milk powder manufactured by the Mengnui Dairy Group and the Yili Industrial Company of China , as they may be tainted with the chemical melamine.

Officials are concerned the chemical may also be present in milk-flavoured toffees.

Melamine is used to make plastics and fertiliser, but when consumed by humans can cause kidney stones and may lead to kidney failure. It has been found in candy, buns and cartons of milk sold internationally.

“Children are at high risk of kidney stones if they consume too much of these tainted products,” a ministry official said Sunday (28 Sept).

Many adults and young people like to eat yogurt and milk, which may contain milk powder produced in China , he said.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of any children in Laos falling sick from the consumption of these products, the official said.

Checks in Vientiane markets led to the discovery of two milk products that may contain melamine.

The ministry urged consumers to avoid milk-flavoured toffee made in China until authorities had completed their checks and confirm that this product was not contaminated.

Since the tainted milk scandal broke in China earlier this month, Bangladesh , Brunei , Japan , Malaysia , the Philippines and Singapore have placed at least partial import bans on Chinese dairy products, according to the ministry.

According to the Xinhuanet website, the number of babies sickened in the milk powder scandal in China continues to grow and at least seven provinces are reporting cases of kidney stones in infants.

“It is a serious food safety incident,” said Gao Qiang, a senior Chinese health ministry official at a press conference on 20 Sept, referring to a baby milk powder contamination case which involved the Sanlu Group. China country reported 432 sick babies suffering from kidney stones as of 19 Sept, and the local government has ordered the Sanlu Group to halt production, Gao said. (By PHAISYTHONG CHANDARA/ The Vientiane Times/ ANN)

MySinchew 2008.09.29