Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said that regulators had issued a formal request for wholesalers and retailers to remove White Rabbit Brand Candies from their shelves after ‘sufficiently high’ levels of melamine were found in testing of the products.
“People are advised not to consume these milk-based sweets imported from China,” FSANZ stated. “This product is sold in retail packs through Asian retailers, supermarkets and restaurants.”
Global dairy firms over the last week have moved to play up the food safety records of both their own operations and those of their joint venture partners in China, as fears continue to domiante the industry over melamine contamination in milk. It now seems that chocolate makers are also facing scrutiny over their product sourcing and production.
However, confectioner Cadbury says that it has already had its operations inspected after the industrial chemical melamine, which has been linked to causing kidney stones and other health problems, was found to have contaminated some Chinese milk supplies.
“We are aware of media reports of melamine contamination in China,” the confectioner stated. “The three factories from which we source our dairy ingredient supplies in China have been tested by the government and no melamine has been found."
Nestle safety claims
Nestle, which manufactures a number of major confectionery brands in China, yesterday moved to reaffirm the safety of all its milk-derived products on the market in Hong Kong and China, claiming them to be free of adulterated supplies.
“This is confirmed by tests carried out by independent, government-approved laboratories in China and Hong Kong,” the company stated. “The Chinese authorities have included Nestle in a positive list of companies the products of which are safe.”
In following up these claims, a spokesperson for the company said that a number of its products had been tested as part of the Chinese government’s reaction to the crisis.
Samples of the company’s chocolate brands in the country were said to be a likely area of focus during the inspection, according to the spokesperson.
The European Commission claimed earlier this week that under its regulations, it believed no Chinese infant milk powders were presently on the European market, though still it called for vigilance amongst finished product companies.
“With regard to composite products containing milk derived products, it is the responsibility of the food business operators to guarantee the safety of all ingredients and of member states to control,” a Commission spokesperson told sister publication DairyReporter.com on Monday.
Four babies have died and almost 13,000 were hospitalised after drinking Sanlu formula contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine. Sanlu had received reports that babies were falling ill as far back as December 2007.