Since 19 Sep 08, AVA has suspended the import and sale of all milk and milk products from China. These products include milk, ice-cream, yoghurt, confectionery such as chocolates, biscuits and sweets as well as any other products containing milk from China as an ingredient.An article in the Straights Times reports that major retailers in Singapore have removed any products that might possibly contain contaminated Chinese milk:
Retailers and importers have been instructed to recall these products and withhold them from sale. AVA will not hesitate to prosecute any retailer or importer who fail to remove these products from their shelves. Under the Sale of Food Act, anyone found selling unwholesome food can be fined up to $10,000 and/or sentenced to three months jail, or both.
Most stores have been conducting triage on their stocks since last Friday, first pulling China-made milk and dairy products, then confectioneries off the shelves, and finally tracking down suppliers to determine if food made elsewhere included Chinese dairy products.The recall comes amid growing unease and wariness among Asian consumers due to the contamination scandal. Rumours about various product recalls pertaining to the contamination have circulated rapidly around Asia via email and SMS.
It is believed that the process of nailing down the origin of ingredients could take days.
Supermarket chains FairPrice, Cold Storage, Giant and Shop N Save, along with convenience stores Cheers and 7-Eleven, have each yanked dozens of products from their shelves.
The list includes M&Ms, Snickers peanut bars, Dove chocolate bars, Oreo wafer sticks, Magnum mini classics ice cream, Monmilk milk and Walls Mini Poppers ice cream.
Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Bangladesh, Gabon, Burundi and the Philippines are all either testing Chinese diary [sic] products or pulling them from shops.However, it should be noted that the blanket recall of all milk products from China in Singapore and elsewhere is a precautionary measure and it does not mean that all the products listed are actually contaminated. In fact, Mars China, the makers of M&Ms, Snickers and Dove has issued a statement reassuring consumers that none of their products are affected by the contamination:
Many countries have recalled products which could be affected
US coffee giant Starbucks has stopped serving drinks with milk in many Chinese outlets and many other large companies are testing products in some Asian locations or pulling them straight from the shelves.
Mars China does not source any milk powder or other ingredients for any of its products from any company which has been found to be selling melamine-contaminated dairy products. Just last week, AQSIQ (the Chinese food safety watchdog) tested product samples of Mars China’s milk powder suppliers and found them to be free of melamine.Dutch Lady Milk Industries Malaysia also notes that while their products sold in Singapore and Hong Kong have been recalled as a precaution, products sold in Malaysia use non-Chinese milk products and are completely safe for consumption.
We are confident that none of our chocolate or confectionery products made in China include any dairy ingredients adulterated with melamine.
Last updated: 24th September 2008
First published: 24th September 2008
Write-up by Brett M. Christensen