Bangladesh restricts sale of Chinese powder milk

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Dhaka, Sep 21 (UNI) Amid serious public concerns about melamine-contained baby powder milk from China, Bangladesh government today decided to restrict the sale of the product imported from China.

An inter-ministerial meeting, convened by the Commerce Ministry, asked the local administration to launch widespread campaign about three particular brands of powdered milk coming from China -- Sweet Baby, Yashili-1 and Yashili-2 -- so that public do not buy these brands. The Chinese government found melamine contents in the three brands.

Commerce Secretary Firoz Ahmed told mediapersons that two firms -- All Way Trading and Mousumi Enerprise -- imported the three brands of powdered milk which were alleged to contain the melamine chemical, dangerous for infant health.

Mr Ahmed said these two firms imported the contaminated milk without the license from the Institute of Public Health and Nutrition (IPHN) under the Health Ministry.

He said the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute (BSTI) has recovered two cans of these brands from shops in Dhaka and 32 cans from shops in Chittagong in a recent drive.

According to the Commerce Ministry, during July 1-September 18 this year, 6,660 metric tonnes of powder milk were imported from different countries, including 166 tonnes from China. Last fiscal year, 4,747 tonnes of powder milk were imported from China out of the total import of 42,587 tonnes.

The Commerce Secretary said the country's existing facilities could test the radiation level in imported powder milk. ''However, we don't have a system to test the melamine. The BSTI will now collect the device and reagent to test the melamine content.'' He said the BSTI and the IPHN were asked to initiate legal process to penalise the importers of the contaminated milk powder.

Mr Ahmed said if anyone was found to be guilty in the case, the punishment was only two years' imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 takkas.

UNI XC SKB RAI1857

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