Taiwan and China will
set up a channel of communication between health officials from both sides
to discuss food safety issues within a week, the Mainland Affairs Council
(MAC) said yesterday.
MAC chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) credited the recent
visit to China by a Taiwanese delegation for the imminent realization of
Over the weekend, a representative of the semi-official
Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) accompanied six food safety experts on a
short visit to Beijing, during which they
held talks with Chinese officials about the melamine scare and its effect
The adding of the toxic chemical to Chinese dairy products
has cost the lives of at least four infants in China, and sickened 53,000
is one of several countries which have banned the import of Chinese dairy
products while performing tests on products ranging from milk powder to
biscuits and chocolate.
Delegation leader Chang Shu-ti (張樹棣) said Monday after
returning to Taiwan that the plan to establish a special channel was the
trip's major achievement. The team also brought back some practical
information about the melamine crisis, Chang said.
Lai said the new channel will primarily link health
department officials and testing organizations from both sides. Faster
contacts will allow Taiwan
to react more rapidly and efficiently to safety threats, she said.
As to demands for compensation from the Chinese dairy
producers, the MAC said that first responsibilities had to be attributed
and the amount of losses determined.
The compensation files could then be collected and passed on
The food safety scare expanded yesterday to include more
products, including a protein from New Zealand. Inspectors in
China reportedly found 4 parts per million of melamine in lactoferrin supplied by New Zealand's Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co., Ltd., which halted all
exports of the product.
Taipei's health service
found out that two Taiwanese companies imported the lactoferrin,
and sent inspectors to take samples to be tested for melamine. Health
officials said the product would be destroyed if it was found to have been
If the tests were negative, the importers would be allowed
to distribute their product. Cable station CTI reported yesterday evening
that the tests had shown the lactoferrin had not
In a similar move, stores in Taiwan removed 11 types of
chocolate sold by the British brand Cadbury from their shelves. Tests in
Hong Kong reportedly found melamine in the chocolate, but a spokesman for
Cadbury's local distributor told reporters that the products for sale in Taiwan had been imported from Australia or Malaysia.
tour of a supermarket yesterday, Department of Health chairman Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川) emphasized that tests of dairy products covered all
imports, not just China-made products.