September 24, 2008
China sets up milk powder standards and moves to contain milk prices


China is working out 31 milk powder standards and 3 infant formula milk powder standards in the wake of a tainted milk scandal that saw more than 60,000 babies hospitalised.


The Standardization Administration of China and other relevant experts would draft dairy product standards and will issue them within a year to meet management needs.


Melamine found in three of the largest dairy producers in the country was responsible for causing thousands of babies in China to develop kidney stones.


The National Development and Reform Commission recently issued an emergency notice asking relevant authorities to strengthen monitoring of milk powder prices and to take intervention measures when necessary.


The move is expected to stabilize the infant milk prices as milk producers and operators who were unaffected have already started driving up their milk powder prices.


The tainted milk scandal drove countries to take extra precautions. In Singapore, over 15 brands of China-made products have been taken off the shelves. Major supermarkets like Cold Storage and NTUC Fairprice are playing safe by checking that products made in other countries do not contain dairy from China and are also offering customer refunds.


Although some distributors here have been assured by their suppliers in China that their products are safe, measures like running laboratory tests are done for further verification.


Retailers in Hong Kong have also taken China-made dairy products or those from other countries that use milk from China as an ingredient. Similarly in Japan, Marudai Foods, one of the major food producers in the country, has recalled thousands of products as they contain milk from China as an ingredient.


Authorities in Hong Kong found melamine in eight out of 30 sample products tested and recalled milk, yoghurt, ice-cream and other products manufactured by the Yili Industrial Group Co.


Elsewhere, France, who holds the EU's rotating presidency, is calling for tighter controls on food imports while lawmakers in Japan has called for a ban on imports of China dairy products. 

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