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Jumat, 26 September 2008

EU bans baby food with Chinese milk

The European Union announced a ban on imports of baby food containing Chinese milk Thursday, after tainted dairy products linked to the deaths of four babies turned up in candy and other Chinese-made goods that were quickly pulled from stores worldwide.
A researcher in Wuhan on Tuesday checks for melamine in milk samples collected from stores.

A researcher in Wuhan on Tuesday checks for melamine in milk samples collected from stores.
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In addition to the ban, the European Commission called for tighter checks on other Chinese food imports, The Associated Press reported.

Earlier Thursday, Australia, New Zealand and India joined the rapidly growing list of countries pulling contaminated Chinese food products from store shelves.

In Vietnam, authorities established inspection teams to test milk products, especially those from China, the Vietnam News Agency reported. The Health Ministry said inspection teams would "look into food hygiene and safety standards ... involving in milk and dairy products nationwide."

Adding to the growing backlash, India's Health Ministry imposed a three-month ban on the import of Chinese milk and milk products on Wednesday.

It is the latest fallout from a tainted milk scandal that has spread around the world.

White Rabbit Creamy Candies contain unacceptable levels of the chemical melamine, New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Australian food regulators said Wednesday.

The candies have already been recalled in Hong Kong, where authorities confirmed a fifth case Thursday of a kidney problems related to the consumption of milk products tainted with melamine.

That case involved a 10-year-old boy who lives in Hong Kong but had traveled to mainland China and was found to have kidney stones. The boy was in stable condition, the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection said in a statement.

"This is a serious concern," said Sandra Daly, deputy chief executive for New Zealand's food safety agency. "We have issued a Director General's statement advising people not to eat these products as we cannot discount the likelihood of health risks resulting from the consumption of these sweets."

The candies have already been recalled in Hong Kong.

In the United Kingdom, the supermarket chain Tesco said Wednesday that it had pulled the children's sweets from store shelves over fears they contained melamine.

The problem first showed up in China in infant formula made with contaminated milk.

Nearly 53,000 children in China have been sickened by it or other products contaminated with the chemical melamine. Four babies have died. More than a dozen countries, from Asia to Africa to Europe, have banned or recalled Chinese milk products.

The United States, meanwhile, said inspectors would expand testing for Chinese products that may contain high levels of milk or milk proteins.

In South Korea, the government banned the importation of all Chinese products containing milk after Chinese biscuits tainted with melamine were discovered in the country, a government spokesman said.

A formal announcement was expected on Thursday, but the ban went into effect Wednesday night, the spokesman for the Korean Food and Drug Safety Authority said. Video Watch the fallout from the scandal »

The biscuits, called Me Sarang Custard, are sold under the label of a popular South Korean confectioner called Haitai but are produced in China.

Authorities in China have arrested 18 people in a nationwide investigation. They include two brothers who face charges of selling contaminated milk; the brothers could face death if convicted, according to China Daily, a state-run newspaper.

The raw milk used to produce powdered baby formula had been watered down, and the chemical melamine was added to fool quality checks, the newspaper said.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration said its investigators had not found the Chinese infant formula in question during visits to more than 1,000 stores. They were mainly in cities with large Chinese communities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and New York.

The FDA plans to continue such checks, it said, and "has broadened its domestic and import sampling and testing of milk-derived ingredients and finished food products containing milk, such as candies, desserts, and beverages that could contain these ingredients from Chinese sources."

Meanwhile, health officials in Singapore and Indonesia announced additional recalls of products made with the contaminated milk. Products pulled from store shelves range from flavored milks and ice creams to cookies and candies

Authorities in a variety of places have stopped importing some Chinese products made from milk including Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Burundi, Gabon, Tanzania, Brunei and the Philippines.

Melamine is commonly used in coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. Some Chinese dairy plants have added it to milk products to make it seem to have a higher protein level.

In Egypt, a 3,000-year-old find

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Egypt's antiquities council says that archaeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old red granite head believed to portray the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II.
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities says the 30-inch-high head was once on the statue of a pharaoh.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities says the discovery was made recently at Tell Basta, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Cairo.

The council's statement Thursday says the 30-inch-high head belonged to a colossal statue of Ramses II that once stood in the area. Its nose is broken and the beard that was once attached to the king's chin is missing.

The site at Tell Basta was dedicated to the cat-goddess Bastet and was an important center from the Old Kingdom until the end of the Roman Period. Archaeologists are still digging at the location for the rest of the statue.

Uefa to expand Euro championship

The European championship is set to be expanded to feature 24 teams from 2016 instead of the current 16, according to Franz Beckenbauer.

A Uefa executive committee meeting on Thursday discussed the issue and will rubber-stamp the decision on Friday.

"Yes for sure it's going to be 24 teams," said Beckenbauer, who is vice-chairman of Uefa's development and technical assistance committee.

"The European Championships will not lose any quality by that."

Former German international Beckenbauer is not a Uefa executive committee member but is a European Fifa executive member who sits in on the meetings as a non-voting observer.

The proposal to expand the competition was put forward by the Scottish Football Association and Football Association of Ireland last year.

What do you think of the move?

The new format will mean fewer countries will have the capacity to host the tournament but it is believed the 53 member nations are unanimously in favour of the change.

"I think the expansion will be better for the game - more teams will have the chance of qualifying and the excitement of the groups will go on for longer," said Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith.

"It is disappointing in that it means we will not be able to stage the tournament in the future, and we recognise that will be the case.

"It was a trade-off between trying to stage it or open up the qualification process and we have decided to look at something that helps everybody."

Spain emerged victorious at Euro 2008 earlier this year at a tournament where there was no presence from the home nations.

The expanded version should mean it is easier for Scotland and other home nations to qualify but Smith added: "It will make it easier for other countries such as England who failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

"We didn't do it specifically for that purpose however."
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