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Sep 25, 2008

Taiwan alters melamine standards

Not encouraging...

The Department of Health (DOH) said last night that the highest permissible concentration of melamime in raw materials and processed foods is to be 2.5 parts per million (ppm), rather than zero ppm as it had announced on Tuesday.

Because of this easing of standards malt extract and creamer manufactured by Union Chemical Industrial Co, Ltd and creamer manufactured by Festsun Enterprise Co Ltd, originally declared unsafe by the DOH on Tuesday, are now considered fit for consumption because their concentration is lower than 2.5ppm.

The new standard was the result of a meeting between the DOH, Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis and Food Industry Research and Development Institute. The use of 2.5ppm as a standard mirrors that used in Hong Kong.

However, for products meant to for consumption by infants, such as baby formula, the standard is set at 1ppm.

At an earlier press conference, the DOH contradicted itself about whether vegetable-based protein products would be among the products pulled from shelves until they could be tested for melamine.

Following an emergency meeting headed by Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), the health department announced on Tuesday night that all foodstuffs containing Chinese-made dairy or vegetable-based proteins should be pulled from store shelves within 24 hours for batch-by-batch examination.

However, Deputy Health Minister Sung Yen-jen (宋晏仁) told a 5:30pm press conference yesterday that Chinese-made instant coffee, milk tea and creamer in liquid and powder form were to be removed unless their manufacturers or importers had obtained certificates proving the products were safe.

His announcement, however, made no mention of “plant proteins,” only “creamer.”

When reporters asked about the change, Sung simply read the official press release again.

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