Saturday, September 27, 2008

Costa Rica restricts Chinese milk products due to health concerns

Chinese food safety personnel check on the fresh milk at a milk collection station in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Color China Photo)San Jose (DPA) - The San Jose government Saturday imposed restrictions on Chinese milk products in the midst of the scandal over China's tainted milk.

Costa Rica's Ministry of Health and Commerce said it would monitor imports at customs and remove any milk products which could be suspicious.

"We are going to retire all the products of this type that we find in commerce. Nobody can sell any milk products" coming from China, said Minister of Health Maria Luisa Avila.

At least four Chinese infants have died as a result of consuming melamine-contaminated milk powder, while some 13,000 infants were hospitalized and 40,000 others experienced health problems, according to China's health ministry and state media.

Import restrictions or outright bans have been put in place around the world, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand, India, South Korea, Nepal, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan.

In 2007, internationally distributed toxic pet food and melamine- contaminated meat or wheat protein was traced to Chinese producers, and a food scare in Japan in early 2008 involved frozen dumplings imported from China.

Melamine is a toxic chemical used as a binding agent and coating for particle, fiber and laminated board. It is also used to make fertilizer.

Costa Rica opened diplmatic relations with China little more than a year ago.

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