After the ban on milk imports from China and the controversial ban of its toys, the Indian government has now banned all imports of Chinese chocolates and chocolate products to India, commerce minister Anand Sharma told the Lok Sabha today.
Assuring the House that India would "rigidly" follow the international food standards on imported food products from all countries, Sharma said that the ban on Chinese chocolates was necessary after it was found that certain Chinese dairy products contained the harmful industrial substance melamine.
In the recent past, similar ban was imposed on imports of Chinese toys since the lead content in them was high. "Only those toys that meet international standards are being allowed to be imported to India," Sharma said.
In September, India had joined the rank of nations in banning milk and milk products from China last year, after 20 Chinese dairy makers were found to have sold milk contaminated with melamine products that took a toll of six infants in China and sickened nearly 300,000, which became one of the worst food-safety scandals in China in decades. (See: India bans Chinese milk products as WHO expresses concern)
The local Chinese authorities had ignored warnings issued by Fonterra, the New Zealand-based minority shareholder of the Chinese manufacturer, Sanlu, about the adulteration. The scandal assumed global dimensions with Chinese dairy products across the world being banned or recalled. However, no incidents have been reported from outside China.
The Indian ban on import of Chinese milk was followed by a ban on import of its toys in January 2009 for six months, (See: India bans imports of Chinese toys for six months) even though it did not provide a reason for placing the ban.