Dairy Product with Unsafe Melamine Levels Found on US Shelves, FDA Has Yet to Issue Recall

For Immediate Release

Food and Water Watch

Tony Corbo or Erin Greenfield (202) 683-2500

Dairy Product with Unsafe Melamine Levels Found on US Shelves, FDA Has Yet to Issue Recall

Food & Water Watch Enraged Over Agency’s Negligence That Endangers Consumers

WASHINGTON - Just two weeks after the Food and Drug Administration set "acceptable"
levels for melamine in food instead of issuing a complete ban on
Chinese milk-containing products, the Alabama Department of Agriculture
announced that Koala's March brand cookies have tested positive for
melamine with levels that exceed FDA's safe levels of exposure. FDA has
not issued a recall for the product, and despite assurances from the
agency that the parent company, Lotte USA, was removing the product
from the marketplace, Koala's March cookies are still present on U.S.
shelves. Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group,
has called on the government to follow suit with many foreign countries
that have closed their borders to Chinese dairy products and
immediately issue a recall for the Koala's March cookies.

"It is
completely unacceptable that FDA has not issued a recall for a
contaminated product that is on U.S. shelves and ending up in the homes
of American consumers and their families," stated Food & Water
Watch Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter. "What's alarming is that not
only had a product been found in stores where it shouldn't have been in
the first place, but it also had exceeded FDA's safe levels for human
consumption. This just makes it more apparent that without a complete
ban on all Chinese dairy products, FDA is incapable of protecting
American consumers."

This is not the first time the Alabama
Department of Agriculture took action before FDA. Last year the
department found contaminated seafood from China that eventually led to
FDA issuing an Import Alert two months later.  FDA is now considering
lifting that import alert. 

"Perhaps the Alabama Department of
Agriculture should do all of FDA's testing because they seem to be more
interested in protecting American consumers than protecting a corrupt
food safety system in China," stated Hauter.

During a conference
call on October 8th with FDA officials and consumer groups, Food &
Water Watch lobbyist Tony Corbo asked FDA officials if they were
recalling the Koala's March cookies and if the cookies had been tested.
They responded that FDA was working with the parent company and its
U.S. subsidiary to remove the product from store shelves, and that the
Koala's March cookies the agency had tested were safe.

date, Hong Kong, Macau, Canada and France have all banned the Koala
product. The European Commission is also tightening their rules on
Chinese imports, recently announcing that it will ban milk-containing
products from China, and will test all other Chinese milk-containing
products that are already in the EU.

"We cannot take FDA at
their word that dairy products from China are safe, since at this point
it seems that FDA is more concerned with promoting imports than
protecting consumers," concluded Hauter. "It is time for FDA to follow
the lead of countries around the world that have taken precautionary
steps to protect their citizens by banning imports of Chinese dairy
products and processed foods that contain Chinese milk ingredients."

The Alabama Department of Agriculture press release can be viewed at http://www.agi.state.al.us/.


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