China's food safety needs strengthening - analyst

04 November 2008 10:40  [Source: ICIS news]

SHANGHAI (ICIS news)--China should spare no efforts to strengthen safety supervision in its food industry after the country’s melamine food scandal spread to tainted eggs, a chemical and food consultant from Frost & Sullivan China said on Tuesday.

“The consumers' confidence in food safety is hurt after the recent media report that the melamine was added to the Chinese animal feed industry and earlier milk scandal,” said consultant Arden Dai.

“The government should tighten food safety inspection and supervision, making food supplies healthy, as food is closely linked to human life,” he said.

According to news reports, Chinese regulators over the weekend said that they had confiscated and destroyed more than 3,600 tonnes of animal feed tainted with melamine.

Melamine, an industrial chemical commonly used to make plastic and fertilizer, has been blamed for contaminating food supplies in China and for leading to global recalls of Chinese dairy products.

Over the past week and a half, eggs produced in China’s Hubei, Shanxi and Liaoning provinces were found to be tainted with melamine.

On 25 October, as the milk scandal began to abate, the detection of melamine-tainted eggs was reported in Hong Kong.

Since news of the tainted eggs emerged, local supermarkets have taken eggs off the shelves and China’s egg consumption has been affected.

But the latest results of melamine tests on 3 November showed that all 60 samples tested were free from melamine, the Center for Food Safety of Hong Kong (CFS) said on its website.

“I think some illegal feed producers bought the cheap melamine wastes to add them in the feed production, making the feed appear to have high protein,” a melamine producer in north China said in Mandarin.

China’s agriculture minister, Sun Zhengcai, said on 2 November that the recent incident of melamine-tainted eggs was an individual case. He stressed that most of the eggs being sold on the market are safe to eat.

“The continuing food scandals must give a heavy attack on China’s food exports, leading to a terrible impression for foreign consumers,” said the chemical and food consultant Dai.

In September, melamine-tainted milk supplies were blamed for sickening more than 50,000 children and causing at least four deaths in China.

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Dolly Wu contributed to this article.

By: Judith Wang
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