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Direct from G20

It was a mindnumbingly early start this morning – I don’t often get up at 5.45! I made it to the hotel on time, and then was whisked to the ExCel in the official convoy. The morning was crazy, as we got our bearings and did some recceing for the afternoon’s press activities. The Commission President did two interviews before the summit started which was a really good idea, as he was one of the few. Mandelson was working the media section like the old hand he is, and between  him and Geldof the whole place was all a-flutter for most of the morning. By ten o’clock it felt like it should have been hours later. It calmed down once we’d sorted everything like how many microphones to have in the press conference room (oh the glamour!) and so since then it’s been occasional briefings, wandering round the media centre talking to people and catching up with e-mails etc from the office. I’ve been at Councils before, but not  the big European Councils or a summit like and it has been really interesting to see the dynamic of an event like this. I worked at a G8 summit years ago when I was at college, but as that entailed sitting in a nice hotel in Knightsbridge and eating chocolate, I don’t think it’s a comparable experience!

We’re all waiting for it to finish and then it’ll be a whirl of press conferences and interviews, before heading off out in the convoy again. A day spent in a bubble – I don’t even know what the weather is like outside!

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Melamine – new measures taken

The Commission will take measures to ban the import from China of food for infants and young children containing soya and soya products, after high levels of melamine were recently found in Chinese soy bean meal. Competent authorities in the Member States will have to test all other feed and food containing soya and soya products originating from China before allowing imports. Only feed and food containing less than 2.5 milligrams of melamine per kilo (mg/kg) will be allowed into the EU.     

The Commission was recently informed by the Member States through the Rapid Alert System for Feed and Food (RASFF) that high levels of melamine have been found in soy bean meal imported from China.

In 2007, the EU imported about 68 000 tonnes of various soya products or products containing soya for a total value of about 34 million euros. The list includes products such as soya beans, soya bean flour and meal, soya sauce and protein concentrates and textured protein substances.

The Commission initially adopted safeguard measures regarding melamine-contaminated products from China at the end of September. In particular, and in addition to the already existing ban on the import of Chinese milk and milk products into the EU, the Commission imposed an explicit total ban on all products for infants and young children containing any percentage of milk (infant formula, follow-on formula and other products). Furthermore, all composite products containing milk and milk products from China have to be tested for melamine before these can be placed on the EU market.

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