Imported dairy dominates China's market

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The notorious melamine-tainted milk powder scandal exposed in 2008 triggered a surge of dairy product imports from 120,000 tons that year to 600,000 tons in 2009, a senior official said.

"Imported infant formula has since then accounted for almost 90 percent of the domestic market," Liu Peizhi, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), who is also deputy head of the executive office of the State Council Food Safety Commission, said on Wednesday, during the ongoing annual session of the CPPCC National Committee.

Food safety is a global concern with which every country experiences problems, Liu said.

Reports showed the US government recalled hundreds of million salmonella-tainted eggs that had poisoned hundreds of consumers in 2010.

"Food safety's pitfalls in developed countries come more from the natural morbigenous (disease-causing) microorganisms and chemical hazards," Liu said.

"China's food safety incidents were mostly caused by human factors and the rampant use of illegal additives."

He added that although poor government supervision should be blamed for the incidents, the backwardness of the industry - marked by small-scale production and comparatively underdeveloped industrialization - was the real cause of supervision difficulties.

In the United States, for instance, 13 parent manufactories controlled 6,200 producers nationwide. Authorities directly punish the parent manufactory if any subsidiary is found to produce unsafe food.

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