More foodstuffs suspected to be tainted with the toxic melamine chemical were seized yesterday.

The Department for Environmental Health issued a statement urging people to avoid consuming lemon-flavoured sandwich crackers called 3+2 or cream chocolate pie called Lotte, both exported by Wei Brothers.

As a precaution, the department is also urging the public to avoid the consumption of products of the same brand and type but of a different flavour.

Late last week, health inspectors similarly seized 257 packets of biscuits produced in China.

The seizures follow a large-scale contamination of Chinese milk and milk-based products, which emerged after 53,000 children who consumed contaminated milk powder in China fell ill.

As a result, two weeks ago the European Commission imposed a ban on imports of Chinese baby food that contained traces of milk and raised the alert to any imports which were milk based.

The Food Safety Commission had reassured people, saying it found no tainted foodstuffs on the island just 24 hours before the Chinese biscuits were seized late last week. However, when asked about this the department's director John Attard Kingswell said that the situation was still developing and may develop further.

He said the commission had been following this issue since the scandal surfaced in China in mid-September.

"Initially, the issue seemed localised to Asian countries but the information we were getting through the international alert systems started to indicate that composite products manufactured in China, and made from the implicated products, may have been imported into Europe," he said.

Melamine is an industrial chemical used to make plastic.

Inspections are meanwhile being carried out in Chinese restaurants and to date no implicated foodstuffs have been found.

For further information phone the Department of Environmental Health on 2133 2225 or 2132 4093 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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