- Tests confirming high levels of melamine in White Rabbit sweets have forced for their recall, South Africa's health department said today.
The sweets, usually presented as an after-dinner treat at Chinese restaurants, and sold in specialist supermarkets, were manufactured in Shangai, China and came up as only product out of 107 tested in South Africa with unacceptable levels of the coal byproduct, Sapa reported.
Earlier this year, melamine in Chinese-manufactured dairy products was blamed for many infant deaths and illness, with many African states responding harshly by banning Chinese dairy products.
In South Africa, report said, provincial and local health authorities as well as port health officials, forensic chemical laboratories and food safety initiative of Consumer Goods Council started investigating and took 119 samples - mainly imported from China - for testing. The results of 107 have been finalised while the rest are still underway.
Report also said tougher safety compliance measures were to be taken for manufactures and importers to check ingredients used, especially on imported food.
It continued that, because South Africa does not have regulations on melamine levels, it used levels referred to in European Union, US and New Zealand and based on that, department made its decision.
Authorities in province of KwaZulu-Natal, according to reports, were also asked to arrange for an investigation at the premises of a dairy products company, of UHT milk that was found to contain melamine, to determine whether the product was in fact locally manufactured, as indicated on the label.
Both department and its food alliance partners have said testing on other products would continue.
According to World Health Organisation, melamine is a chemical compound that is used for laminates, glues, dinnerware, adhesives, moulding compounds, coatings and flame retardants. It is also used to inflate protein content in food.
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