India has decided to clamp a three-month ban on import of Chinese milk products following the baby-food scandal in that country, in which adulterated formula powder has killed four infants and infected thousands so far.
The decision was taken on the advisory of India’s food regulator — the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA) — that sought a three-month ban, citing a health scare. “A notification banning import of Chinese milk products for three months is being prepared,” an official requesting anonymity said. It expected to be made public on Thursday.
Chinese infant food companies were found to have contaminated milk with melamine, typically used to tan leather, to make the protein content appear higher.
More than a dozen countries in Asia and Africa have already banned China dairy imports, including Bangladesh. At least two Chinese formula milk brands — Sanlu and Suncare — implicated in the adulteration scam are exported to Bangladesh. Whether these brands are also available in India could not be ascertained immediately.
The WHO has said that countries importing milk products should monitor foodstuff for any contamination.
The FSSA sought the ban on Tuesday at meeting attended by officials from the ministries of agriculture, commerce and industry, and health and family welfare. It forwarded the request to the commerce ministry, which finally takes all decisions on imports and exports.