The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore lifted its restrictions on the import of milk and milk products from China on Thursday, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) announced on Friday.
Having inspected dairy farms, milk collection centers and food processing firms in China, the AVA is satisfied with the control measures to ensure that Chinese dairy products made or processed with effect from Dec 18 are no longer contaminated with melamine, a statement on the AVA website said on Thursday.
Chinese-made biscuits, crackers, liquid milk, ice cream, milk and whey proteins were removed from Singaporean stores after the tainted milk scandal broke out three months ago, the Straits Times said.
To ensure that milk and milk products coming from China are melamine-free, they must be from establishments approved by the Chinese authorities and there must be health certificates accompanying consignments exported to Singapore, said the AVA.
Mei Xinyu, a trade expert with China's Ministry of Commerce, said it was good that Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to lift the ban.
"Singapore is a quite developed country in Southeast Asia in terms of its economy, health and technology, therefore this will have a positive effect on other countries in the region," said Mei.
In another development, the nation's first lab-based testing center for food and drug safety will be set up in Shanghai to raise checking efficiency with toxicity researching technology, Shanghai Institute for Food and Drug Control said on Friday.
The Ministry of Health and Shanghai municipal government fully support this move. The plan has been submitted to the city government for further discussion on the timetable for the center's establishment.
"An assessment center is urgently needed, because we need to take such toxicity tests first and then finish the test report independently, according to the international convention which requires independent parties to supervise the test," said Ji Heli, deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Food Additive Industrial Association.