November 21, 2008
China is seeking to give its dairy industry a major overhaul due to the recent melamine contamination scandal, said authorities.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, has called for a massive upgrade in the industry, starting with breeding, according to a report by Xinhua news agency.
Changes will be implemented within next year in production, purchasing, processing and sales, said the report.
The State Council said the Health Ministry will issue new quality and safety standards for dairy products, while the Agriculture Ministry will draft inspection standards for melamine and other toxins in animal feed. The flow and delivery of dairy products will also be tracked, said the Council.
The government will tighten regulation of milk collection stations where farmers sell their raw milk, and all milk stations by the end of next year will be required to meet hygiene, testing, operational and personnel standards, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
China has also recently signed an agreement with the US Food and Drug Administration, allowing the American agency to open offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. China has also extended a Memorandum of Understanding with the EU, which involves food safety.
The melamine scandal has put China's dairy industry in peril and exposed major problems existing in the industry's quality control and supervision, said the NDRC, adding that the crisis has damaged China's national image.