Smear scandal sours China's dairy image

08:25, October 21, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 


This Sept 16, 2010 file photo shows milk packages made by Mengniu Dairy (R) and Yili Group at a supermarket in Haikou, capital of South Chian's Hainan province. (Xinhua Photo)

China's dairy giants are locked in a bitter battle after a leading industry player, Mengniu, was accused of fabricating product safety scandals to tarnish the images of its rivals, a charge the Hong Kong-listed company denies.

The alleged backbiting underscores the brutally competitive nature of the country's dairy market, which has recently been plagued by safety scandals, such as fatal melamine contamination and fears over infant girls' premature puberty, which have caused outrage among consumers.

Online posts alleged Tuesday that unidentified staff members at Mengniu were under police investigation for hiring a public relations agency to calumniate a milk product of its biggest rival, the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, saying the latter's products contain deep sea fish oil, an ingredient believed to cause sexual precocity among children.

A public relations officer at Yili, Zhang Lina, told the Global Times Wednesday that the company reported the allegations to local police after allegations against the company's milk products were posted online in July.

Local police concluded that Mengniu has a role in the case, Zhang claimed.

Four people involved in the case, including one of Mengniu's directors in charge of children's milk products, An Yong, and three individuals at Mengniu's contracted PR agency were arrested, Zhang said Wednesday.

Police in the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region made no comment on the case.

Meanwhile, various Internet posts claim that Mengniu is also guilty of framing Beijing-based dairy Syrutra, linking it to alleged cases earlier this year of infant baby girls growing breasts.

The rumor has been dismissed by the Ministry of Health after an investigation proved there is no link between Syrutra's products and premature puberty.

In a statement Wednesday, Mengniu Group refuted the charges, insisting it has nothing to do with the Syrutra scandal and denied any of its staff at managerial level have been detained by police.

"We fully understand the harm of illicit competition. Putting ourselves in a rival company's place, we know exactly how it feels, so we earnestly hope that police discover the truth behind the Syrutra scandal as soon as possible," Mengniu said in a statement.

However, the statement did not respond to the accusation from Yili regarding the contamination of its products.

The share price of Mengniu Dairy Group, listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange, dropped 2.119 percent Wednesday.

Total revenue among the top three dairy giants in 2009 was 57.84 billion yuan ($8.7 billion), while Mengniu and Yili, in first and second place, earned 25.7 billion yuan and 24.2 billion yuan respectively.

By Zhu Shanshan, Global Times
【1】 【2】

(Editor:梁军)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion