EU children could consume three times legal melamine limit

Children who eat large amounts of confectionery and biscuits with high levels of milk powder could be consuming levels of melamine more than three times above prescribed EU safety limits the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said today.

But children with a mean consumption of products such as milk toffee, biscuits and chocolate containing milk powder would not exceed these levels, known as the tolerable daily intake (TDI) - which is set at 0.5 mg/kg body weight, the body added.

Europe’s top food watchdog delivered its assessment in the wake of the European Commission’s request for an evaluation of the health risk to its citizens following revelations over the widespread tainting of Chinese milk powder with melamine.

While no Chinese milk powder is imported directly into the EU, EFSA was urged to focus its appraisal on a wide range of imported products that use Chinese milk powder as an ingredient. These include baked goods, snacks and soups, chocolates and confectionary (e.g. milk chocolate), ice cream, infant formula, nutritional products for special use, reconstituted milks and other liquid beverages.