The ban on import of milk and milk products, including chocolates and chocolate products and candies, confectionery, as well as food preparations with milk and milk solids as ingredients, has been extended for a further period of one year, till June 23, 2016 by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The ban, which began way back in September 2008 and extended on yearly basis thereafter, stemmed from the finding that imported Chinese milk and milk products contained melamine, an industrial chemical, which is known to cause kidney damage and therefore unsafe for human consumption.
The latest advisory issued by the FSSAI on June 22, 2015 indicated that the ban will be in force for a further period of one year within which the safety of the imported milk and milk products have to be established based on credible reports and supporting data provided by China. However, till date, China has not provided any credible data that the milk and milk products were safe for human consumption, especially by vulnerable populations like infants and children. In this context, it should be remembered that melamine contamination of milk and milk products hit the global headlines in 2007-08 when many Chinese infants were diagnosed with renal failure and kidney stones.
Since there was no evidence for establishment of safety of the banned products, there was no scientific basis to revisit the ban, the experts opined. The experts further cautioned that any and all products entering the Indian market through import should be subjected to thorough scrutiny and meticulous testing. All the experts reached a unanimous consensus to recommend that the ban on import of dairy products from China should be extended for a further period of one year or until credible evidence or representation became available from the Chinese side.