Several incidents of melamine contamination this year have noticeably harmed China’s dairy industry. According to official government statistics, export of Chinese dairy decreased 92 percent in October 2008 compared to the same period last year.
The Agency France Presse (AFP) recently reported that Chinese produced soybean powder has about 50 times the allowable level of the dangerous contaminant.
On December 3, following the AFP report, the European Union Executive Committee announced a ban on imports for all Chinese soybean related food products designed for infants and children. The French government also announced a ban on importing all Chinese dairy products, with the Italian government announcing similar measures.
Russian labs also found melamine in Chinese food imports. On November 27, 2008 the Kirghizstan government announced a ban on all Chinese dairy products and eggs.
In fact, dozens of countries, including the U.S. and Russia, have prohibited import of Chinese dairy products.
Dr. Luo, a quality control person at a U.S. food company, said that he also worries that the meat and organs from animals, poultry and seafood are all tainted with melamine as well, since Chinese pigs, cows, chicken and fish have all been eating tainted feed. He believes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should also trace Chinese imported seafood to determine its safety.
Dr. Luo added that eggs and egg whites are often used in processed foods like bread, cake and noodles, and says the FDA should spread its import ban to these Chinese food products as well.