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Cablegate: Singapore Lifts Ban On Chinese Milk Products

VZCZCXRO3108
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHNH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGP #1338 3580644
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230644Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6176
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 001338

STATE PASS USTR

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EAGR SN

SUBJECT: SINGAPORE LIFTS BAN ON CHINESE MILK PRODUCTS

1. Summary: Singapore's Agro-Veterinary Authority (AVA) lifted its
three-month ban on imports of Chinese milk and milk products,
instituted after some imports were found to have elevated levels of
melamine. AVA inspectors said they were satisfied with China's
control measures to ensure against future melamine contamination.
However, Singapore will require for an undefined period that Chinese
milk products continue to be tested for melamine and be certified as
melamine-free before import into Singapore. U.S. manufacturer MARS
Foods, which produced candy bars in China using local milk, is
relieved the import ban is lifted but concerned about the long-term
damage to its brand. End Summary.

2. Singapore's AVA announced December 18 that it had lifted its ban
on imports of milk and milk products from China. Imports had been
suspended since September 19 after a number of Chinese products were
found to contain elevated levels of melamine. In all, 327
Chinese-made products were banned as a precautionary measure. AVA
announced the lifting of the ban after officials inspected Chinese
dairy farms, milk collection centers and food processing
establishments and concluded that China had sufficiently tightened
the overall control system to prevent future contamination with
melamine.

3. Despite the inspectors' seal of approval on China's control
measures, AVA will continue to require that imports of Chinese milk
products meet several conditions. Products can be imported only
from establishments approved for export by Chinese authorities;
manufacturers are required to test each batch of raw materials and
end products for melamine; and Chinese authorities must inspect and
test each shipment, and attach a health certificate to each shipment
certifying that the product is melamine-free. Ms. SEAH Huay Leng,
Director of AVA's Food Control Section, said the conditions were
temporary, but AVA had not placed an end date on the conditions.
Seah added that AVA would continue to sample shipments of Chinese
milk products to verify the system was functioning correctly.

4. Corrine Lim, National Sales Manager for U.S. company MARS Foods,
said that the candy bar manufacturer was getting back to normal as
its made-in-China products returned to Singapore store shelves.
MARS products had been hit by the ban despite the company's
insistence that its milk suppliers in China were not linked to the
melamine scandal and that none of its products had tested positive
for melamine contamination. Lim said the company had taken a
financial hit during the ban, and would have to see what long-term
impact the ban would have on MARS' brand and sales in Singapore.
HERBOLD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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