New Delhi: An inter-ministerial panel has recommended extending ban on imports of milk and its products from China for one more year as the neighbouring country has not provided any data addressing the safety concerns.
India had imposed ban on Chinese milk and its products in September 2008 due to presence of melamine, used for making plastics and fertiliser. The ban has been extended every year and will expire on June 23, this year.
"Ban on import of milk and milk products from China may be extended for a period of one year from June 23, 2013 unless there are dependable reports available about a significant improvement in the situation," said an advisory issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) after the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) meeting.
The committee, headed by FSSAI chief, met early this month to review the ban on Chinese milk products like chocolates and chocolate products, candies, confectionary, and food preparations made with milk or milk solids.
"The IMC recommended extension of ban because China has not been able to provide required data showing improvement in the situation with regard to milamine content," a senior FSSAI official said.
However, the final call on this issue will be taken by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Commerce Ministry, he added.
More than a dozen countries in Asia and Africa have banned milk and dairy product imports from China due to melamine content, the dangerous chemical that can cause kidney stones as well as failure of the organ.
India, the world's largest milk producer, does not import milk products from China, but the ban is being imposed as a preventive measure.
The country's milk production is estimated to be 133 million tonne in 2012-13.