Melamine traces found in local milk

2008-10-30 00:00

Following the detection of traces of melamine in samples taken from a midlands dairy, an investigation has been launched to determine the source.

Umgungundlovu District Municipality’s environmental health inspectors found that some products produced by the dairy contain melamine, although it is within acceptable levels.

Preliminary results, however, have cleared the company, and its milk has been given the department’s stamp of approval.

Local inspectors conducted tests on dairy products from local dairies after an outbreak of kidney disease caused by melamine found in dairy products imported from China. Municipal environmental health assistant manager Mbuse Nzimande said the department runs regular tests on all dairy companies.

“We run monthly tests for microbacterial counts, but it is seldom to do chemical counts”.

He said that after the melamine scare it was decided that chemical count tests be done on products from all dairies.

“We found melamine in the milk used in the company’s products, but it was below the limit. We therefore made follow-up investigations and so far have found no evidence of melamine at the company, and suspect that the melamine traces may have originated in the cattle feed.”

Nzimande said more tests are under way to determine if other dairy companies are affected. “We will continue to take samples from all dairy producers and farms to ensure that local products are not tainted.”

Melamine is added to milk or milk products to increase indicators of protein levels. Excessive amounts are dangerous. The chemical is also used in the manufacture of plastics.

Four Chinese babies died of kidney failure and more than 53 000 fell ill this year after consuming dairy products tainted with melamine.

A spokesman for the dairy company concerned told The Witness, “We do not use anything that contains melamine.”

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