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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Dairy firms accused of setting low standards

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

08:31, November 29, 2011

A standard which would have imposed strict limits on the amount of bacteria in raw milk was changed at the last minute after it had been hijacked by dairy manufacturers, it was claimed yesterday.

Experts and officials had agreed that baseline bacteria count in raw milk should be 500,000 cells per milliliter, but it was increased to 2 million, Wei Ronglu, an official with the Dairy Association of Western China told People's Daily.

The Ministry of Health also lowered the minimum standard for protein content to 2.8 percent from the proposed 2.95 when the standard was published in March last year, said Wei, who has taken part in formulating the National Dairy Standard on four occasions. "I have no idea till now on when and why some key indexes that were discussed repeatedly were overthrown," Wei said.

The new standard has come under fire from both consumers and the media, as the maximum safety limit for bacteria in raw milk was 20 times higher than in Europe and the United States.

The standards were actually drafted by some domestic dairy manufacturers, Zeng Shouying, another expert who has taken part in formulating China's dairy standards since 1962, told the newspaper.

"China Mengniu Dairy drafted the standard for pasteurized milk, the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd drafted the standard for raw milk, while the Bright Dairy did that for yogurt, according to an internal file," Zeng told the paper.

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