TFDA: Dairy products are contaminated by melamine PIUS RUGONZIBWA Daily News; Thursday,November 13, 2008 @21:15 Three out of nine samples tested to detect melamine in dairy products about a month ago, tested positive with 7.1 mg of melamine found in every one kilogramme of the tested sample. Normal allowable amount of melamine in the packaging materials is 2.5 mg per kilogramme and if digested by human being it usually causes renal failure especially in infants and children. The Tanzania Food and Drug Regulatory Authority (TFDA) yesterday announced the results of the laboratory tests following the importation of the milk products from China that were suspected to be contaminated with the deadly chemical, melamine. In September 2008, TFDA impounded about 43.89 tonnes of milk products in various selling points in Dar es Salaam that were imported from China, banned others from being imported and thereafter sent samples to South Africa for testing. The TFDA Acting Director General, Ms Charys Ugullum, told reporters that lab test results revealed that 33.9 tonnes of milk products were discovered with melamine contaminations and that it was mainly found in the products called Golden Bell Full Cream Milk Powder. Ms Ugullum added that importers of the products had been notified of the results and legal measures would be taken against them according to the TFDA Drug and Cosmetics Act number 1 of 2003. However, she defended the importer on grounds that she/he was a victim of circumstances. "Learning from this experience, from now on the Authority will carry out inspection and verification exercises to impound all dairy products sold without labels, and we also caution consumers to be alert with such products and inform us accordingly," she said. She added that TFDA already procured special laboratory equipment worth 5.6m/- instead of taking samples to South Africa. Ms Ugullum said already local testing had started whereby samples of products with raw materials of milk like biscuits, sweets, cakes, would be tested to examine their safety. She said so far, no further information has reached the Authority on the possible death of people who were affected by the contaminated milk, adding that the authority would continue gathering information countrywide on the matter. "This will include visiting hospitals and obtain information from medical personnel on any diagnosis in connection with the chemicals," she pointed out. The Acting DG further said from now onwards, TFDA would be communicating with international bodies and networks on early warnings including thorough verifications of the products at all borders and entry points. The sample testing costs in South African laboratories cost more than 6,300 Rands (about 693,000/-). Manufacturers in China add some percentage of melamine in the products in a cheating exercise aiming at showing that products are richer in proteins; in turn they turn up to be hazardous and deadly.