For Immediate Release
FDA Bans Milk Products from China...For the Time Being
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON - "After months of intense criticism for lack of action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the melamine milk scandal, the agency has finally banned all milk products manufactured in China. Unfortunately, FDA is getting into the habit of making these critical decisions too late in the game.
"In the import alert issued today, FDA claims that it became aware of the contaminated milk-related illnesses in China back in September 2008, two months after the first cases were reported and already making headlines around the world. Instead of immediately issuing a complete ban on milk products - which Food & Water Watch called for in September - FDA instead chose to drag its heels and set ‘acceptable' levels for how much melamine food can contain, letting products like the recently recalled Koala's March Brand cookies end up on U.S. shelves.
"Although FDA's action today is a step in the right direction, it does not do enough to ensure consumer safety, especially since melamine contamination in Chinese products continues to broaden. Eggs and fish feed sold in Hong Kong, imported from mainland China, have been found to be contaminated with melamine. According to FDA's schedule on taking appropriate action on food safety issues, we can be assured that we'll see a ban for these products just in time for the New Year."