Milk is poured into a glass in Auckland, New Zealand (Photographer: Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg News.)  

India Extends Ban On Import Of Milk Products From China

The government on Tuesday extended the ban on import of milk and its products, including chocolates, from China till laboratories at ports are upgraded for testing presence of toxic chemical melamine.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had recommended extending the ban until all labs at ports are modernised to test the chemical. The ban was first imposed in September 2008 and extended subsequently from time to time. The latest ban imposed by the government ended Tuesday.

“Prohibition on import of milk, milk products (including chocolates, chocolate products, candies/confectionery/food preparations with milk or milk solids as an ingredient) from China is extended until the capacity of all laboratories at ports of entry have been suitably upgraded for testing melamine,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a notification.

However, it has not mentioned any timeline for upgradation of that capacity of all laboratories.

The ban was imposed on apprehensions of presence of melamine in some milk consignments from China. Melamine is a toxic chemical used for making plastics and fertilisers.

Although India does not import milk, milk products from China, it has imposed the ban as a preventive measure.

FSSAI in a statement on Tuesday said that the ban on import of milk and milk products, including chocolates and chocolate products and confectionery or food preparations with milk and milk solids as ingredients from China may be extended until the capacity of all laboratories at ports of entry have been suitably upgraded for testing melamine.

India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. It produces around 150 million tonne milk annually.

Uttar Pradesh is the leading state in milk production followed by Rajasthan and Gujarat.