Melamine trade to be on real-name basis

08:44, September 27, 2010      

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The country has called for enhanced safety of domestic dairy products, with a focus on regulating the production and marketing of melamine to avoid the chemical from entering the food industry.

The selling and buying of melamine in the country should be on a real-name basis to trace all the products in the market from the wholesalers to retailers, according to a notice issued by the general office of the State Council dated Sept 16.

The notice requires dairy manufacturers to keep records of all raw materials purchased. Dairy enterprises are also required to conduct melamine tests on all products before distributing them in the market.

The notice called for a harsh crackdown on illegal dairy production and on the use of melamine in dairy products.

"In cases of lagged crackdowns against illegal dairy production dens or reemergence of melamine-tainted milk products, local governments should be held accountable," the notice says.

"Local governments should send officials to be stationed at all dairy enterprises to enforce relevant food safety regulations," it says.

A staff member at the Sichuan Chuanhua Xintianfu Chemical Co Ltd, one of the country's leading melamine manufacturers, told China Daily on Sunday that his company has adopted the real-name system in his business. But he refused to give more details.

Wang Dingmian, former chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association, said the notice is concrete, but whether it can improve the country's dairy products safety relies on the implementation.

"Government regulation is not the guarantee of everything. The manufacturers' self-consciousness of their social responsibilities is more important," Wang said.

A key problem right now is that violators receive punishments that are too light, he said.

"Only when law violators receive harsh punishments will their counterparts take the laws and regulations seriously," he said.

Wang also called for making full use of the consumers' power.

"Consumers should be granted the full right to know, so they can make their own choices as to which products to choose. Public selection is the best way to eliminate low-quality products and manufacturers," he said.

"But first of all, the government and the media has the responsibility to ensure transparent information," he said.

In 2008, the toxic milk powder scandal killed at least six infants and sickened 300,000 children in China.

In the incident, milk powder from 22 domestic dairy plants was found to contain excessive melamine, an industrial chemical that is added to watered-down milk to boost its protein levels during quality tests.

By Wang Yan, China Daily


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