Viet Nam, WHO, FAO offer advice over tainted milk scandal

Viet Nam’s Ministry of Health and two United Nations agencies have suggested that consumers be alert but not alarmed by the tainted milk scandal as not all milk on sale in Viet Nam is contaminated with melamine.

A Ho Chi Minh City customer scrutinizes formula milk (Photo: SGGP)

The ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) made the recommendation in their joint statement on melamine milk contamination, issued on October 7.

“We can confirm that not all milk being sold in Viet Nam is contaminated with melamine,” the joint statement says, urging consumers not to boycott milk as this could have an adverse nutritional impact on the nation’s health.

However, the three bodies recommended that consumers only chose products that have been verified as not containing melamine and with proper packaging, labels and origin clearly displayed.

Following the notification of the contamination, the ministry rapidly implemented several initiatives and measure to strictly prevent the exposure of consumers to melamine contaminated milk and milk products and to determine the presence of melamine in milk ingredients, milk and milk products, in order to resolve any obstacles in circulation and protect the rights of businesses.

The ministry has actively collaborated with the WHO and FAO technical experts as well as other ministries and the provincial People's Committees to establish 20 inter-ministerial teams to conduct inspections; suspend the distribution of all milk materials products that do not have a clear origin and brand name and standardise melamine testing methods, including internationally-approved training courses for Vietnamese technical experts.

It designated 22 laboratories across the country as melamine testing centers, permitted enterprises to actively test for melamine and verify the safety of their products and announced test results to consumers, along with daily updates and announcements to consumers, via the mass media, the list of melamine-contaminated products.

As of the afternoon of October 6, more than 500 samples of milk and milk products had been taken for testing, with 23 samples being identified as containing melamine.

The relevant authorities requested the importers to withdraw the products from circulation.

The Ministry of Health said that the melamine contamination of milk products has been effectively controlled in Viet Nam.

Source: VNA

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