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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Dairy firms accused of setting low standards (2)

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

08:33, November 29, 2011

Wei said he asked about the reason for the changes, and was told they were "the result of coordination among various parts."

In an official response, government authorities said they set a "loose standard" for fear a stricter one would squeeze small and medium-sized dairies out of business.

However, experts say the lower standards would only damage product quality, setting back the progress of China's dairy industry. Wang Dingmian, director of the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association, called the standard "a shame on the whole industry."

In December 2008, the Ministry of Health decided to make a new standard and require every dairy producer to apply for a new license as the country bid to shore up an industry badly affected by a baby milk melamine scandal.

Nearly half of China's 1,176 dairies were ordered to cease production after failing to obtain new licenses required by the country's quality inspection agency.

The melamine scandal, which was blamed for the deaths of at least six children and which sickened about 300,000 others, shook consumer confidence in China's dairy industry and also hurt major players, including China Mengniu Dairy and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd.

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