Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

EU bans imports of Chinese soya

Soya beans
EU nations imported about 68,000 tonnes of soya products in 2007

The European Commission has banned imports of Chinese soya-based food products intended to be eaten by infants and young children.

The decision was taken after a chemical called melamine, used in pesticides, was found in Chinese soya bean meal.

All other soya products will have to be tested when they are imported.

Last year, EU nations imported about 68,000 tonnes of products containing soya with a total value of 34m euros ($43m; 29m), the commission said.

Melamine was the chemical at the centre of the milk scandal in China in September in which tens of thousands of babies became ill, and at least four died.

Eggs later became contaminated because melamine had been in feed given to hens.

Melamine is rich in nitrogen and may be used in sub-standard milk, which is often tested for nitrogen levels to assess its quality.

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