BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- "We can breathe a sigh of relief now." That was the reaction of Yang Wenjun, vice president of Mengniu Dairy at a news conference held here Saturday in reaction to China's conclusion that their milk is safe to drink.
According to an online statement posted Friday by the Ministry of Health (MOH), milk with the additive OMP is "not harmful to human health."
On Feb. 2, the country's top quality regulator ordered Mengniu to stop production of Milk Deluxe, their products contain OMP, or osteoblast milk protein. It wanted to conduct tests to make sure the additive was safe.
OMP is imported from New Zealand via a Shanghai-based food technology company and has safety certification from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, MOH said.
However, Mengniu used it in dairy production without China's permission and could still face punishment, the statement said.
The Mengniu group described the additive as a "common food material" used in overseas markets and said it has been used in milk products in Japan, the United States, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan.
After China launched its investigation, the company stopped using OMP and said it would apply for state approval accordingly.
"We will not call back products already sold on market as it's not a quality issue," said Yang.
Mengniu, a major dairy producer in China, launched the production line Milk Deluxe with OMP in 2005. Its marketing campaign claims the protein additive helps improve human health.
OMP is not yet listed as a legal food material under current food safety law and needs state approval for import and application, MOH said.