Free milk program suspended in kindergartens, primary schools

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Issue 470, Page 2
Word count: 410
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

More than 12,000 students from about 60 local kindergartens and primary schools will have the free milk they are provided with by the education department suspended starting next week as they are of the same brand as the ice pops that were found to contain melamine.

Although the boxed milk of the brand Yili had not received any reports of containing the industrial chemical melamine, the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) said preventative measures had to be taken to ensure students’ health and thus the “milk program” which was to begin on September 22 will now be held up pending further notice.

The Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on Tuesday detected a small quantity of melamine in a 90ml sample of Yili yogurt flavoured ice pop produced by Shanghai Yili AB Foods Company.

The Health Bureau yesterday said that such ice pops had not been imported into Macau as well as all other dairy products of Yili will be suspended from sales in the region until they are confirmed to be safe for consumption after testing.

Starting the 2004/2005 academic year the DSEJ has been offering high calcium and low fat boxed milk to kindergartens and primary schools’ first and second year students as one of the initiatives of its “healthy school campus” campaign.

At present 6,768 kindergarten students and 6,020 first and second year primary school students have subscribed to the program to receive a box of 160ml or 250ml milk every school day, the DSEJ told the Macau Daily Times yesterday.

The MDTimes was also told that schools used to be given milk cartons of Nestle until the 2007/2008 academic year when it changed to supply the brand Yili due to the expiry of the original supplier contract.

Denying the change of brand was due to a lower cost, the DSEJ added that the latest open tender to select a new milk supplier to schools was only participated by two companies which were the Macau agents of Yili and Meng Niu with Yili finally gaining the contract.

The DSEJ said in a press statement that they would continue cooperation with the health authorities and closely look at updates from the State quarantine department in mainland China in order to ensure the safety of local student’s health.

On the other hand, the Macau Prison also replaced its dairy products for inmates as they belonged to one of the brands involved in China’s contaminated milk powder incident.

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