Food & Water Watch Enraged Over Agency‚ Negligence That Endangers Consumers
Washington, DC , Just two weeks after the Food and Drug Administration set ‚acceptable” levels for melamine in food instead of issuing a complete ban on Chinese milk-containing products, the Alabama Department of Agriculture announced that Koala‚ March brand cookies have tested positive for melamine with levels that exceed FDA‚ safe levels of exposure. FDA has not issued a recall for the product, and despite assurances from the agency that the parent company, Lotte USA, was removing the product from the marketplace, Koala‚ March cookies are still present on U.S. shelves. Food & Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group, has called on the government to follow suit with many foreign countries that have closed their borders to Chinese dairy products and immediately issue a recall for the Koala‚ March cookies.
‚It is completely unacceptable that FDA has not issued a recall for a contaminated product that is on U.S. shelves and ending up in the homes of American consumers and their families,” stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter. ‚What‚ alarming is that not only had a product been found in stores where it shouldnt have been in the first place, but it also had exceeded FDA‚ safe levels for human consumption. This just makes it more apparent that without a complete ban on all Chinese dairy products, FDA is incapable of protecting American consumers.”
This is not the first time the Alabama Department of Agriculture took action before FDA. Last year the department found contaminated seafood from China that eventually led to FDA issuing an Import Alert two months later. FDA is now considering lifting that import alert.
Perhaps the Alabama Department of Agriculture should do all of FDA’s testing because they seem to be more interested in protecting American consumers than protecting a corrupt food safety system in China,” stated Hauter.
During a conference call on October 8th with FDA officials and consumer groups, Food & Water Watch lobbyist Tony Corbo asked FDA officials if they were recalling the Koala’s March cookies and if the cookies had been tested. They responded that FDA was working with the parent company and its U.S. subsidiary to remove the product from store shelves, and that the Koala‚ March cookies the agency had tested were safe.
To date, Hong Kong, Macau, Canada and France have all banned the Koala product. The European Commission is also tightening their rules on Chinese imports, recently announcing that it will ban milk-containing products from China, and will test all other Chinese milk-containing products that are already in the EU.
We cannot take FDA at their word that dairy products from China are safe, since at this point it seems that FDA is more concerned with promoting imports than protecting consumers,” concluded Hauter. ‚It is time for FDA to follow the lead of countries around the world that have taken precautionary steps to protect their citizens by banning imports of Chinese dairy products and processed foods that contain Chinese milk ingredients.”