IN the wake of the scandal in China involving milk contaminated with the toxic industrial chemical melamine, three African countries-Tanzania, Gabon and Burundi have banned imports of Chinese milk products.
In Tanzania, the country’s food and drug authority said government officials at all border points had been ordered to be “extra vigilant with all dairy products from China including yoghurt, ice-cream powder and chocolate.”
It said experts had also been sent “to check retail and wholesale outlets for any possible traces of tainted milk that had made its way” into the east African country.
Authorities in Libreveille at the weekend banned the import of all brands of Chinese milk until further notice.
The government decree also said that Chinese powdered milk already in the shops would be taken off the shelves.
China admitted this week that milk powder contaminated with melamine, which is used in plastics, had made at least 6,200 babies ill nation-wide and killed four over a period of many months.
Yili, Mengniu and Guangming — big brands consumed and trusted by hundreds of millions of Chinese — were affected by the recall after authorities checked their products and found traces of melamine.
As well as Gabon and Tanzania, the brands incriminated in the scandal export to Bangladesh, Burundi, Myanmar and Yemen.
Melamine added to milk and other food products gives the appearance of higher protein levels.
Burundi became the third African nation to ban Chinese milk products, after tainted milk from the country killed four babies in China and made thousands of others ill, the government said.
“The trade, industry and tourism ministry is calling on importers and shopkeepers who stock Chinese milk to stop selling the product until the end of an investigation,” a ministry statement said.
“This measure also concerns the sellers of repackaged milk, whatever its origin,” added the statement, while urging consumers to keep a watchful eye on the packaging of milk products.
A special commission has been set up to investigate the scale of the tainted milk problem in Burundi and “take urgent measures to protect the population,” the statement said.
Burundi imports milk products from two Chinese companies that are currently embroiled in the tainted powdered-milk scandal.
Four children have died and at least 6,200 are ill owing to milk products contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics.
A Burundi consumer association, known as ABUCO, expressed concern that tainted milk products were already being stocked in the country’s shops.
“For the moment, nobody knows if the milk is being sold on the Burundi market,” said Noel Nkurunziza, the president of ABUCO.
On Saturday, Gabon and Tanzania banned Chinese milk products and all Chinese dairy
The World Health Organisation yesterday said it was helping China solve its tainted milk formula problem, while criticising the government for initially failing to alert the international community.
Beijing officially sought the WHO’s help on September 11, telling the UN body it had monitored 6,244 cases of people ingesting formula tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, WHO Western Pacific director Shigeru Omi told a news conference in Manila.
Does anyone knows how many African children that have died due to chinese poison. This is the same China that is becoming the main partner to African countries.
I hope these poisons from China are not being sent to Nigeria because that would add to the mortalities from malaria and other preventable childhood (respiratory) diseases.
Well done to Tanzania and the other countries. I hope that ALL countries in Africa will as a matter of fact stop the importation of poisonous food from China. Think about the children and their future, stop feeding them with poisons that would cause death and mental retardation.
Wake up Africa and make the best use of the resources and food in your own domain.