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‘New measures in place to prevent use of powdered milk in dairy products’

By Hana Namrouqa - Aug 19,2014 - Last updated at Aug 19,2014

AMMAN — The Ministry of Agriculture has drafted a new policy that monitors the import and trade of powdered milk in Jordan, as unlicensed factories use the substance to make dairy products, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The new policy handles “a highly critical issue”, Agriculture Minister Akef Zu’bi said, noting that it introduces import provisions, measures for obtaining a licence for the import of powdered milk and — “most importantly” — a mechanism that tracks the movement of the substance from the borders and into factories.

“The policy is very important because there are many unlicensed factories that use dry milk to make yoghurt and other dairy products, a practice that is detrimental to people’s health,” Zu’bi told reporters during a press conference at the ministry.

Dairy products manufactured from powdered milk contain very high amounts of hydrogenated oil, which has adverse health effects, he said.

“There are 76 factories operating without a licence and making dairy products from dried milk. Most of the factories are located in the northeastern region of the country,” the minister noted.

Meanwhile, Zu’bi said his ministry is following up on negotiations with the Russian government to reach an agreement that opens the Russian market to Jordan’s agricultural produce.

“Jordan’s ambassador in Russia is finalising measures to sign a customs agreement between Jordan and Russia, which is expected to happen soon.”

The ministry eyes entry into the Russian market as a big and important step as the Kingdom’s exports to Russia will be equal to all of its exports to Europe, the minister said in previous remarks.

The planned agreement with Russia is also important because the country’s agricultural exports dropped due to the unrest in Syria and Iraq, Zu’bi told The Jordan Times recently, noting that tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and strawberries will be the main items exported to Russia.

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