Taiwan to set new ingredient rules for infant milk formula

Friday, July 6, 2012
The China Post news staff

Taiwan has decided to follow in the footsteps of a U.N. commission in setting the limit of melamine in infant milk formulas. Thecommission set a recommended limit of 0.15 milligrams per kilogram for the liquid infant formula on Wednesday in response to the melamine incident that killed six babies in China in 2008.

Melamine was found in the infant formulas, sparking uproar around the world. The Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis Assignee, Tsai Shu Jean, stated that after the incident, authorities in Taiwan ordered that no amount of the chemical could be used in foods. Tsai said that Taiwan will use the commission as an example but will also take into account people's eating habits and other factors.

Tsai stated that even though intentionally adding melamine was prohibited, the chemical could still come from other environmental causes or pollution from food processing in the industry. She added that hopefully, the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis will come up with the right melamine limit standards over the next few years.

Two years ago, the U.N. food security body known as the Codex Alimentarius Commission set the maximum limit of melamine in powdered infant formula at 1 milligram per kilogram of formula. The commission, which is jointly run by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, is made up of 184 government representatives plus the European Commission.

Melamine is used to make dishes and kitchenware, and trace amounts can sometimes get into food from packaging. In China, melamine was being added to watered-down milk to elevate protein levels. In addition to the six deaths, some 300,000 babies became sick after consuming the tainted formula and milk.

Tsai stated that, before Taiwan sets its standards, they would use the commission's as an example. She added that government officials would strictly prohibit the limited amount of melamine, and even deny manufacturers the right to sell their products if melamine levels exceed the set standards.

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