Countries should test Chinese dairy products: WHO
Governments around the world have reacted with alarm after thousands of Chinese children were sickened from drinking infant milk formula tainted with melamine.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) urged national food safety authorities on Thursday to test Chinese dairy products for health risks before slapping on import bans or recalls.
Governments around the world have reacted with alarm after thousands of Chinese children were sickened from drinking infant milk formula tainted with melamine, a cheap industrial chemical that can be used to cheat quality checks.
More than a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and Europe have responded by banning imports of Chinese dairy and others from Australia to Yemen have recalled products on fears that the potentially lethal milk has made its way to their markets.
"We see mass recalls but would suggest it would be better for national food safety authorities to do the testing first," WHO spokeswoman Sari Setiogi told Reuters in Geneva.
"It would be wise for countries to do health risk assessments before taking any further action such as recalls or import bans on Chinese dairy products," she said.
The WHO, a United Nations agency, is expected to issue a statement later on Thursday or Friday on the issue.
India on Thursday announced a three-month ban on Chinese milk and milk products, becoming the largest and most populous country to impose such a measure.
The European Union also proposed tests and restrictions on Chinese food products containing powdered milk. A spokeswoman said EU authorities would test 100 percent of products from China containing more than 15 percent milk powder, and would ban all products for children containing any proportion of milk.