Imported Milk Continues to Flood Chinese Market Despite Frequent Quality Issues
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
Imported Milk Continues to Flood Chinese Market Despite Frequent Quality Issues

(Yicai Global) Sep. 5 -- Despite the popularity of imported milk often labeled as "natural and safe," more and more products are not meeting Chinese testing standards. Dozens of defective batches have been destroyed this year already.

Some 12 batches of Australian-produced pasteurized milk were found to have quality issues this year, including excessive levels of coliforms, non-conforming content of non-fat milk solids and excessive levels of bacteria colonies, data from China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine shows.

Pathogens such as staphylococcus aureus and escherichia coli were found to exceed acceptable levels in products from Braeside-based Camperdown Dairy Company Pty., according to the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China.

Problems are also frequently identified in the overall quality of imported milk. So far 45 batches of imported milk have been destroyed this year, including brands such as Arla Foods, Milkana and Dutch Cow imported from countries including Germany, France, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia. Common defects include excessive colonies and acidity, moldiness and unacceptable additives and packaging.

The manufacturer bears the main responsibility for problems such as the occurrence of coliform bacteria and unacceptable levels of staphylococcus aureus, senior dairy analyst Mr. Song Liang told Yicai Global. Problems in imported milk due to relaxed quality control lead to errors in the production process. Also, many countries are eager to export milk to China, and so the quality of products is not controlled strictly.

Except for some pasteurized milks and high-end imported milk products delivered by cold-chain transportation or by air, most imported milk is transported by sea. Containers shipped from Europe to China take about 38 days, so quality issues are likely to be caused due to high temperatures and bad weather en route, shipping analyst Mr. Wang Hai told Yicai Global.

Such problems have not affected the growth of imported milk entering the Chinese market though. Some 460,000 tons of liquid milk was imported last year, up 43.7 percent year-on-year growth. In the first half of this year, 315,000 tons of liquid milk were imported, up 77.31 percent year-on-year. Experts predict that the total quantity of imported milk per year will exceed 650,000 tons, according to data published by the Dairy Association of China.

Many domestic consumers do not have confidence in domestic milk products, Mr. Song said. Moreover, the price of raw milk abroad is decreasing and the cheap price contributes to its sales growth.

It is necessary to improve import thresholds, develop a pre-inspection mechanism and unify inspection standards, he said. Factories with recurring quality issues should have their products banned.

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