Oct. 2, 2008
by Ralph Jennings
Reuters: Taiwan health officials on Thursday ordered stores around the island to remove six types of Nestle dairy products after tests found traces of contamination from China, which is at the center of a tainted milk powder imbroglio.
The island's Department of Health ordered the removal of Nestle products from Heilongjiang province of northeastern China following tests that showed more than half of the items contained traces of melamine.
"Although there are no health concerns, our standards were exceeded, and to eliminate the public's suspicions altogether and ensure the rights of consumers, we have asked merchants to carry out a removal," the department said in a statement.
Nestle said its products were safe, but it would remove them from stores in Taiwan following the government order.
A growing list of Chinese milk and milk-related products have been taken off shelves around the world in recent weeks after they were found contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine, sickening tens of thousands and killing four children.
In the capital Taipei and Taiwan's second largest city Kaohsiung, store clerks piled jumbo cans marked KLIM and Nespray, two of the banned products, into carts, leaving shelves bare.
"First of all, we will take these products off the shelf," Taipei-based Nestle spokesman Liang Chia-jui told a news conference as he drank from a mug of one of his products. "Nestle will make consumer interests its top priority."
Nestle officials said their products from China were safe and urged the Taiwan health department to introduce "science-based standards" for melamine tests. Last month Taiwan approved the sale of Nestle items from China, the company said.
Taiwan's standards are now 50 times stricter than the international norm, the Switzerland-based global dairy product manufacturer said.