EFSA assesses possible risks related to melamine in composite foods from China
Following recent events in China, the European Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide urgent scientific advice on health risks for European consumers related to the possible presence of melamine in composite foods containing milk or milk products originating from China.
EFSA’s scientists today issued a statement saying that if adults in Europe were to consume chocolates and biscuits containing contaminated milk powder, they would not exceed the TDI (Tolerable Daily Intake) of 0.5 mg/kg body weight, even in worst case scenarios.
Children with a mean consumption of biscuits, milk toffee and chocolate made with such milk powder would also not exceed the TDI. However, in worst case scenarios with the highest level of contamination, children with high daily consumption of milk toffee, chocolate or biscuits containing high levels of milk powder would exceed the TDI. Children who consume both such biscuits and chocolate could potentially exceed the TDI by up to more than three times.
High levels of melamine can primarily affect the kidneys. EFSA applied the TDI of 0.5 mg/kg body weight for melamine in a specific case of contamination in 2007.
The Commission requested EFSA to focus its assessment on biscuits and chocolate which contain milk powder as such products can be imported from China. EFSA developed theoretical exposure scenarios based on European consumption figures of biscuits and chocolate. In the absence of available data for contaminated milk powder, EFSA also used the highest value of melamine, reported in Chinese infant formula as a basis for worst case scenarios. EFSA stressed that it is not known at the moment whether such theoretical high level exposure scenarios could occur in Europe.
- Statement of EFSA on risks for public health due to the presences of melamine in infant milk and other milk products in China
- Request from the European Commission for urgent scientific and technical assistance
- EFSA´s provisional statement related to melamine and structurally related compounds such as cyanuric acid in protein-rich ingredients used for feed and food (2007)
- Report of the Scientific Committee for Food on certain monomers of other starting substances to be used in the manufacture of plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs (1984)