China on Tuesday said that a preliminary investigation found that fish feed made from contaminated squid powder, which was reportedly found in the Republic of Korea (ROK), was not made with Chinese export products.
"Relevant Chinese departments have carried out investigations on the country's export of powdered squid innards since reports of this issue were revealed on September 19 and found that those claimed products were not from Chinese companies," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing.
According to ROK media reports, locally distributed fish feed had been found to be contaminated with the chemical melamine, known to cause kidney-related problems in humans.
The ROK government said it had found traces of the chemical in feed made by a domestic company that produced the feed from powdered squid intestines, which reportedly came from both the ROK and China, and were supplied to 16 fish farms beginning in March.
Of the 619 tons of feed produced by the company, 583 tons were sold while 29 tons were recalled.
"The ROK authorities are investigating how the industrial chemical got into the fish feed," Jiang said.
Since May 15, 2007, China has listed all phytalbumin products in an inspection catalog, registered feed and feed additive export companies and strengthened examination of export feed products, Jiang said.
"Qualified feed products exported to other countries have not drawn claims about safety concerns," she said.
"Chinese related departments will closely follow the development of this issue and [we] hope the ROK will inform us about investigations in a timely manner," she added.
Melamine is a byproduct of plastic that can also be used to increase the apparent protein content of food. If taken in very large amounts, it can cause death in animals and humans. China has been rocked in recent weeks by the discovery of the chemical in baby formula and dairy products.
Discussing the exported formula, Jiang said the Chinese departments in charge of the issue have reported relevant information from their investigations to the World Health Organization and all countries concerned.
"The Chinese government has paid great attention to the issue, and is ready to strengthen cooperation with the food security departments of the countries and regions concerned," said Jiang.
She said China understands the concerns of those countries and regions and will properly handle the issue based on an objective, practical and scientific attitude and principle.
She added that China attaches great importance to the work on imported and exported products' quality and food security and has built a series of supervision mechanisms and systems. She said China will further improve those mechanisms and systems.
"The governments of all countries face the common challenges of food security, and we are ready to strengthen cooperation with the international community to jointly safeguard the interests of consumers and the property and life safety of the people," said Jiang.
(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2008)