Ministry says no leather protein tested in milk

08:13, February 18, 2011      

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China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said Thursday the quality and safety of fresh milk on the Chinese market was "generally safe" and that no leather hydrolyzed protein or other prohibited materials had been detected in its tests in recent years.

The ministry made the declaration on its web site after media reported that some illegal manufacturers added leather protein powder to dairy products, which were produced from hydrolyzed leather scraps in tanneries, raising milk safety concerns after the melamine scandal in 2008.

China had maintained close attention to the quality of dairy products and boosted food safety checks, which put melamine and leather hydrolyzed protein on the list of banned food additives and must-checks in fresh milk safety supervision, said the ministry.

The MOA performed 7,406 spot checks on fresh milk samples, 4,778 spot checks on milk stations, and 2,628 checks on transportation vehicles, it said.

The ministry said that this year the government would further boost safety supervision over fresh milk and strengthen the crackdown on illegal activities.

In 2008, melamine-tainted milk power killed at least six infants and sickened 300,000 children across the country.

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