Midday Express, 13 October 2008
Last Friday, the European Commission discussed how to update the existing measures to respond to the melamine contaminated milk from China with the Member States.
The set of reinforced measures discussed and agreed by Member States, will replace the interim measures provisionally adopted by the Commission on 26 September last (Decision 2008/757/EC). The new proposed measures update and supplement the measures adopted two weeks ago, which consisted of a ban on imports of products intended for the particular nutritional uses of infants or young children and of systematic checks on other composite products containing milk prior to import into the Community. Member States may also perform random checks on other products which, because of their high protein content, could have been subject to adulteration practices similar to those applied to the milk products, although there is at present no evidence that this has been the case.
Whilst controls were, pursuant to Decision 2008/757/EC, limited to products containing at least 15% of milk products, Member States have been reporting significant difficulties in establishing the exact milk product content of a number of composite products targeted by the interim measures. The new proposed measures will streamline and simplify control tasks imposed on Member States by the interim measures adopted on 26 September. On the one hand such controls will have to be carried out on a limited number of control points specifically designated for that purpose by the Member States. On the other hand, Member States will not have to establish the exact amount of milk product content on imported products in order to decide whether analytical tests are required, as the new measures will require systematic checks on all milk containing products irrespective of the exact amount of such content.
The measures shall be regularly reassessed in the light of the results of the controls carried out by the Member States. The proposed measures are currently being scrutinised by the European Parliament, and are expected to be adopted next Wednesday.