Stricter milk standards may restore public faith

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, March 3, 2011
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 Ma Fuxiang Wang Yun 

Editor's Note: A recent survey of shoppers in Beijing supermarkets revealed that 70 percent wouldn't buy domestically made milk powder, and mainland consumers are flocking to Hong Kong and Macao to buy milk powder of foreign brands. It seems consumers' confidence in domestic brands of milk powder has fallen to a new low, with memories of the Sanlu milk scandal in 2009, when dozens of babies died as a result of melamine poisoning, still lingering. Are the foreign brands really more superior to the domestic ones? What can China do to ensure its dairy products' safety? The Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) talked to Ma Fuxiang (Ma), director of food production, supervision and management division of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China, Song Kungang (Song), chairman of China Dairy Industry Association, Wang Yun (Wang), vice secretary-general of Standardization Administration of Dairy Products of China, and Ren Fazheng (Ren), professor of China Agricultural University, on these issues.

Xinhua: During the Spring Festival, many mainland consumers went to Hong Kong and Macao to buy milk powder. Why?

Song: In my opinion, the purchasing fever is caused by two reasons. One is that mainland consumers lack confidence in the quality of domestic milk powder brands. Also, foreign milk powder in Hong Kong is cheaper than in the mainland market, because there are less tariffs on it in Hong Kong.

Xinhua: How can we judge the quality of milk powder?

Ren: Among various dairy products, infant formula milk powder has the highest technical requirements, so we can judge it based on the quality of the raw materials and the production and quality assurance system including production process, technological equipment, quality testing capabilities, management level and so on.

Xinhua: Is there any difference in formula and content between domestic milk powder brands and foreign ones?

Wang: The execution standards for infant formula we are implementing now were just issued in March 2010. It is the fourth version, based on three different rounds of amendment, totally equivalent to the standards issued by the Internatioanl Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). Therefore, we can say that our country's national infant formula standards have reached international levels.

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