News last update:6 Aug 2012

US imports to be certified melamine free

The United States issued an import alert for Chinese-made food products, calling for foods to be stopped at the border unless importers can certify they are either free of dairy or free of melamine.

Two top US health officials announced they will go to China next week to open food inspection offices and talk about food safety after a series of health scares from Chinese-made food products.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach will also open new FDA offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

The FDA said the ban widens earlier health alerts about Chinese products. The burden will be on the importer to certify food does not contain dairy products, or is melamine-free.

"No adverse health effects have been reported in the United States from contamination with melamine of dairy products or dairy-containing products," the FDA said in a statement.

HHS said the Leavitt and von Eschenbach visit would help to address some of these issues. "In addition, during this trip, the Secretary and the Commissioner will open FDA's new offices in three cities in China," HHS said.

The FDA offices are meant to help start inspections of Chinese products before they are exported to the United States.

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