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Thursday, September 25

Melamine at low level not unexpected

As a result of the milk contamination scandal in China, there has been a global focus on testing for the presence of melamine in food.

A New Zealand company undertaking such precautionary testing has reported to NZFSA that it has found a minute amount of melamine in one of its highly processed products. It has also advised that similar levels are being found in the same product produced in other countries.

NZFSA is investigating, but at this early stage it is very likely that the low levels reported are a coincidental consequence of the process and not in any way caused by deliberate adulteration.

Low levels of melamine from a range of sources are not unexpected in the food cycle. Explanations for its presence include leaching from plastic involved in processing or packaging, or an unintended outcome of the manufacturing process. At these low levels, it does not present any health risk for consumers. There is no risk either for New Zealand or international consumers of products that contain this ingredient at these low levels.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is conducting a full investigation to determine the reason for the presence and will report its findings.

NZFSA is not concerned from a public health point of view with the low levels found in the product and will report further when it has more information to hand.

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