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No big effect on dairy industry

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

08:14, July 06, 2012

A newly adopted international standard on melamine in infants' milk formula won't cause any shakeups in China's dairy sector, industry watchers said Thursday, but it will still take time for the domestic dairy industry to rebuild consumer confidence.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations food standards body, set a maximum melamine level of 0.15 mg per kilogram for liquid milk formula for babies Wednesday. This compares to a maximum level of 2.5 mg per kilogram according to the Chinese standard that was unveiled last year.

"The new international standard is unlikely to have an impact on the Chinese dairy industry, as the results of recent sample checks on dairy products across the country have revealed low levels of melamine," Wang Dingmian, chairman of the Guangzhou Dairy Association, told the Global Times Thursday.

The safety of China's dairy products has seen considerable improvement in the wake of the 2008 melamine scandal, Wang noted, although the nation's environment for the dairy sector is still not on a par with Western nations.

"Overall, the country's dairy products are safe currently, as the government has increasingly tightened food safety regulations," Zhang Yongjian, director of the research center for the development and regulation of the food and drug industry, affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

But Zhang admitted that the melamine scandal had seriously eroded consumer confidence in domestic dairy products, baby formula in particular.

"It will still take a long time to rebuild consumer confidence in the dairy industry," Zhang noted.

"I don't dare to feed my baby with domestic baby milk formula, as I just don't believe in the quality of domestic milk products," Wang Siyi, a young mother in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, told the Global Times. Wang has been asking her friends overseas to buy baby formula for her.

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