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Farmers, Nestle in milk payment row

By  Zhou Huiying and Qiu Bo  (China Daily)

08:17, October 26, 2011

Farmers deliver milk to a collection spot for Nestle's subsidiary in Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang. (Xinhua/Cheng Zilong)

SHUANGCHENG, Heilongjiang - Shuangcheng Nestle Co, a subsidiary of Nestle SA, said on Tuesday it would improve its measurement practices in response to several farmers' claims that the Swiss food giant had been collaborating with local vendors to shortchange them for years.

The dispute centers on milk that farmers deliver to Nestle facilities.

Wang Lixin, a 45-year-old farmer in Shuangcheng, said she delivered 1,450 kilograms of raw milk to Nestle last month, but the company paid her about 1,000 yuan ($157) less than the agreed-upon price.

According to the original agreement, Wang's milk should be sold to the dairy giant's local branch for 3 yuan per kg, in this case 4,350 yuan.

However, after the milk was weighed, Wang was told it was worth only 4,100 yuan. She said company officials also told her the milk contained an excessive level of an antibiotic and withheld another 800 yuan as a penalty.

Wang said the company never explained why her milk fell short of standards.

"This has happened every month since 1996 and I've gotten used to it," she said.

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