Ever since the Chinese milk and milk product imports were found to contain substances like melamine, that is unsafe for human consumption, there has been a ban on the import of milk and milk products from China, The ban, which has been in force since September 2008, has again been extended by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The regulatory body has found that there have been no ‘dependable reports about any significant improvement in the situation’, so the ban has been extended for another year from 23 June, 2014.
In 2008, when the Directorate General of Foreign Trade got reports that Chinese dairy products were found to contain melamine it immediately banned the import of milk and milk products. Melamine is an industrial chemical which could prove to be harmful if consumed. The long term use of melamine is known to have a damaging effect on the kidneys.
Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) officials have reiterated once again that strict action would be taken against those found selling any such adulterated Chinese milk products. Melamine is high in nitrogen and when mixed with milk, it gives a false indication of the milk being protein rich.
The ban includes products that use milk as an ingredient like chocolates and chocolate products, candies, confectionery and food preparations with milk and milk solids. A top official explained that the Chinese dairy farmers use melamine to increase profit margins. Melamine is used to increase the protein content of milk after milk has been diluted by 30%. The food authority is ready with a quality control equipment has been designed to detect nitrogen and melamine.
US FDA in August 2009 published a guidance document for the industry. The guidance was proactively published to help manufacturers of pharmaceutical ingredients and products, control the components that are at risk of being contaminated. The guidance document recommends the use of a LCMSMS or GC MS method for to test for Melamine and Triazine Analogs.
The monitoring of melamine contaminated milk and milk products became a worldwide concern when many Chinese infants were diagnosed with renal failure and kidney stones in 2007-08. Melamine is a synthetic thiazine compound and is used for making fertilizers, plastics, glues dishware, kitchenware and flame retardants. Therefore when melamine is ingested it remains accumulated in the body and forms into crystals which block the urinary tract. It is possible for very low levels of melamine to enter food through packaging or through processing equipment also.