A new international study by JRC's Institute for Reference Materials and measurements (IRMM) suggests that the majority of laboratories around the world are capable of effectively testing for the presence of melamine in food. The study's results show that levels of the harmful substance in food samples can be accurately measured by the majority of laboratories tested, suggesting that the global response to the Chinese contaminated milk scare of 2008 has been effective.
114 analytical laboratories from around the world volunteered to put their measurement competence to the test for the study, which was organised and carried out by the JRC at the request of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection. Carefully prepared samples of contaminated milk powder and baking mix were sent to the laboratories for testing without revealing the known levels of melamine present. Participating laboratories measured the melamine content of these 'blind' samples to the best of their abilities and reported their results back to the JRC.
Laboratories from 31 countries participated in the test, including Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, as well as 21 of the 27 EU Member States.