May 1, 2014


Fast-tracked quarantine allows Australian fresh milk shipment to China


For the first time, Chinese and Australian authorities have allowed quarantine clearance to be fast tracked to allow Australian fresh milk to be exported direct to China, ABC News reports.


The move comes after 18 months of negotiation between Chinese and Australian officials, to recognise the testing regimes in place in Australia. The development of rigorous quality assurance protocols means dairy co-operative Norco has the potential to export up to 20 million litres of fresh milk to the Chinese market in the next 12 months.


Based in northern New South Wales, Norco will now be able to send fresh milk to China in seven days, instead of up to 21 days in the past, which reduced its shelf life overseas.


"When we first started this project, it was thought it would be impossible to get the milk into China without losing too much use-by date," Norco chairman Greg McNamara said.


"Originally we thought it was going to be 14 to 15 days before it would actually be cleared, and there would only be a three to five-day potential for it to be used, which was too short."


Norco successfully sent a trial shipment of almost 1,000 litres of fresh milk last month.


According to McNara, Australian fresh milk by Norco could be sold in the price range of US$7 to US$9 a litre, which will go to high-end consumers who are worried about the health of their children and trying to ensure they consume healthy products.


With potential growth in the Chinese market and the company's new contract to supply to supermarket chain Coles, McNamara says Norco has already had to bring on 54 new farmers to keep up with demand, and will need more in the near future.

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