Confidence in foreign products is shaken

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, August 6, 2013
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Chinese consumer confidence in foreign milk powder has been shaken by the news that toxic bacteria was found in imported dairy products from New Zealand.

There's anger over another safety scandal involving a trusted foreign supplier, especially after traces of dicyandiamde, a potentially toxic chemical, was found in some Fonterra products in January.

Zheng Juan, a mother of a two-year-old girl in north China's Tianjin City, said she will not be buying New Zealand milk powder, in future.

"We used to think imported milk powder was better than domestic products," Zheng said.

Chinese have been upset by the latest disclosure by Fonterra, as the whey protein was produced in May 2012 but problems were only reported this month.

According to Zhu Yi, associate professor in food science and nutrition at China Agricultural University, clostridium botulinum can grow in canned food which has been poorly processed, packaged or stored, thus posing a threat to babies below the age of one.

On Sunday, China's importers began to recall and seal products produced by Fonterra after the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine named four domestic companies that had imported whey products which may have been tainted.

The four are China's biggest food and beverage firms Hangzhou Wahaha Health Food Co Ltd, Hangzhou Wahaha Import & Export Co Ltd, Shanghai Tangjiu (Group) Co Ltd and Shanghai-based Dumex Baby Food Co Ltd.

Foreign milk products became increasingly sought after in China after a series of domestic food scandals. Milk tainted with melamine killed six children and left many others sick in 2008.

In the first half of this year, China imported 371,000 tons of milk powder from New Zealand.

Gu Jun, a professor at Shanghai University, said the New Zealand scandal offers an opportunity for Chinese dairy companies to rebuild consumer confidence in domestic milk powder.

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