December 5, 2008 / 2:47 AM / 11 years ago

China to draw up blacklist of dangerous ingredients

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is to publish a blacklist of food additives which make products taste better or appear nutritious but are damaging to health, state media said, as it struggles to restore faith in the “made in China” brand.

China has weathered a series of health scares in recent months, the most recent being tainted milk killing at least six infants and making close to 300,000 sick.

Melamine, an industrial compound used in the manufacture of plastics and pesticides, was added to watered down milk because it mimics protein in quality tests.

The additives blacklist would be constantly updated, Health Ministry official Su Zhi told Chinese television.

The government would also aim to set specific rules for different sectors of the food industry, starting with dairy products, and unify current regulations which vary across the country, the official China Daily said.

Chinese dairy products and food like biscuits made with Chinese milk were cleared from shelves around the world, and melamine has since turned up in other exports.

Health officials in China’s northeast Jilin province are investigating the source of a fourth batch of eggs found to have been contaminated with melamine in tests conducted by a Hong Kong lab, state media reported on Thursday.

And the European Union said on Wednesday it had banned imports of Chinese soy-based food products for infants and young children after melamine was found in Chinese soybean meal.

All Chinese consignments of baking powder, or ammonium bicarbonate, would also be tested at EU points of entry after high levels of melamine were found, it added.

Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Nick Macfie

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