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Food Safety Focus (44th Issue, March 2010) – Food Incident Highlight

Melamine in Milk Products

Last month, media reported that Mainland authorities had stepped up surveillance of milk products because some melamine contaminated milk products found in 2008 were not destroyed and entered the market in the Mainland.

Melamine is an industrial chemical not allowed to be added to food in any quantity. Its adulterated use in milk products, which was to cause a false increase in the measurement of protein, was discovered in 2008.

Melamine can cause stones formation in urinary tract. Infants are particularly at risk of developing adverse effects from consumption of melamine-tainted milk. Affected children may experience symptoms of irritability for unknown reasons, blood in urine, little or no urine, stones in urine, or pain over the kidney region.

Since the melamine incident in 2008, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has been conducting surveillance on melamine in foods available in Hong Kong . There had/ have been no positive results in over 1100 food products tested in 2009 and in all food products tested in 2010 so far. The CFS would maintain close contact with the Mainland authorities to monitor any contaminated products in the market.