Author Topic: Italy's first cases of melamine tainted milk  (Read 618 times)

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Italy's first cases of melamine tainted milk
« on: October 16, 2008, 06:25:59 pm »
Italy's first cases of melamine tainted milk
The Associated PressPublished: October 16, 2008

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ROME: Italy has discovered two containers of milk and one of yogurt containing melamine, the industrial chemical that contaminated milk powder in China and hospitalized thousands of babies, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

It said the first melamine contamination found in food products in Italy posed a non-lethal health threat and was so far limited to illegally imported Chinese products being sold by retailers that mostly cater to Chinese immigrants.

The Health Ministry said in its statement that inspections at hundreds of import companies and shops that sell Chinese products had resulted in the three positive tests, out of 48 samples analyzed.

The ministry called the contamination "extremely contained," but checks were continuing across the country following the positive tests on the samples taken in the southern cities of Bari and Naples.

Milk and other dairy products laced with melamine have been blamed for the deaths of four infants and for sickening more than 54,000 in mainland China.

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Spanish judge opens case into Franco's atrocitiesBulgarian prime minister pledges reformsEuropeans split over goals to cut emissionsAlso Thursday, authorities seized Chinese-made products at shops and an import-export center in Naples, including a ton of milk believed to be contaminated with melamine. The milk, which had a long shelf life, was sold in tins and was of a brand known to have been contaminated, said a statement from the forestry service, which in Italy also is responsible for food safety.

Even if the milk turns out to be uncontaminated, it would still be illegal because imports of dairy products from China are banned, said forestry official Vincenzo Stabile.

Other items seized included chicken legs, an import that was banned amid concerns over bird flu, as well as products made from endangered animals and plants, Stabile said.

Officials imposed fines for about €100,000 (US$135,000) and seven Chinese people were flagged to judicial authorities for possible investigation on charges of fraud and counterfeiting.