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Milk Basic Protein (MBP) in Food

Introduction

  1. On 11 February 2009 , media reported that the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of Mainland China did not permit Mengniu Company to add Osteoblast Milk Protein (OMP) in its milk product “Milk Deluxe”.
  2. Press releases from the Ministry of Health of the Mainland (MOH) and AQSIQ indicated that OMP is a commercial term introduced by Mengniu Company, which claimed that OMP added in some of their milk products was actually Milk Basic Protein (MBP). Therefore, the safety of MBP is discussed below.

Safety of MBP

  1. MBP is primarily composed of lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase, with residual proteins, carbohydrate, ash and moisture accounting for approximately 5% of MBP.
  2. The food safety of MBP has not been evaluated by international organisation, including the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Nevertheless, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has listed the use of MBP by Snow Brand Company Milk Products Co., Ltd. as food ingredient in some foods (including milk) under certain conditions as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS). The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare of Japan also endorsed MBP as one of the approved “Food for Specified Health Uses” in Japan .
  3. The food safety of MBP as an ingredient in food has been evaluated by researchers and can be found in the scientific literature. Results of the study indicated that no MBP-related adverse effect was found in various toxicological studies that examined its acute and sub-chronic toxicity, teratogenicity and mutagenicity.

Safety of milk products added with OMP

  1. According to the press release of MOH, OMP is not an approved food additive and it is not regulated as novel food in the Mainland. It is a food ingredient that has not been included in the food hygiene standard. As such, the concerned milk company should seek approval from MOH for adding it in food, as stipulated in the “Food Hygiene Law”.
  2. According to the evaluation of MOH of Mainland China , milk products added with OMP will not pose adverse health effect to consumers.

Regulatory Control

  1. Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) has not established any standard for the use of MBP or OMP in food.
  2. Currently, OMP is not a permitted food ingredient in the Mainland.
  3. According to the Milk Regulation (Cap.132AQ), no person shall sell or advertise for sale, any milk or milk beverage imported into Hong Kong from a source of manufacture other than a source of manufacture which has been approved by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene.
  4. According to the information of the Mainland authorities and importers, as well as the record of FEHD, the concerned milk has not been imported to Hong Kong .

Advice to Public

  • Consumers are advised to take a balanced diet and to avoid overindulgence of certain food items.

Advice to Trade

  • In Hong Kong , all food available for sale in the market must be fit for human consumption. The trade should ensure the foods they sell or import are fit for human consumption and comply with legal standards.
  • No person shall sell or advertise for sale, any milk or milk beverage imported into Hong Kong from a source of manufacture other than a source of manufacture which has been approved by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene.
Risk Assessment Section

Centre for Food Safety

March 2009

 

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Last Revision Date : 13-03-2009