The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday said it will impound all food products with milk ingredients from China if they are found to contain melamine.
An alert notice on the agency's website said Chinese products that contain milk or milk powder will automatically be stopped at the border until the manufacturer or dealer has shown them to be free of contamination.
The announcement came two months after a raft of Chinese dairy products were found to contain melamine. The contamination caused the deaths of four infants and sickened 50,000 others.
Neither the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine nor the Ministry of Commerce had any comment yesterday on the FDA announcement.
The administration, which will open three offices in China next week, had previously banned wheat gluten products from China after pet food was suspected to contain melamine and blamed for several animal deaths.
Also, in September, the European Union banned imports of Chinese dairy products for children and infants. Several other countries, including Singapore and Russia, followed suit.
Chinese exporters said the latest move by the FDA came as no surprise.
Tong Xun, a senior manager with the Zhangjiagang-based Liangfeng Food Co, said on Friday: "Compared to other countries that banned China's dairy products completely, US authorities seem to be more understanding of China's situation."
The firm has not exported any chocolates or cookies - its main products - since September, he said.
"I'm afraid it will take at least six months for us to recover from this difficult time," Tong said.