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Taobao blocks tainted-formula searches

By Guo Nei  (China Daily)

14:13, December 08, 2011

BEIJING - China's biggest online shopping website, Taobao, has blocked Meiji baby formula from its search results since Meiji Dairies Corp of Japan announced on Tuesday that radioactive cesium was found in the product.

Meiji infant formula produced in Japan is not officially sold in China, but has been widely available on various shopping websites

According to Taobao, it has contacted industrial and commercial authorities in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, where the company is based. Meiji formula will not appear in its search results until authorities give the OK.

Taobao also said it would help consumers return the products to online stores if their purchases were on a recall list issued by the Japanese dairy company.

Baby formula is one of the most popular buy-for-you products online. Many private online sellers offer illegally imported foreign food at lower prices or products unavailable in the regular market.

A Taobao search by China Daily reporters for "private seller of foreign baby formula" yielded 4,479 hits.

According to a report by Xinmin Evening News on Wednesday, a search for "Meiji milk powder" yielded more than 7,000 hits before the website blocked the results.

Contacted by China Daily on Wednesday, a shopowner, whose ID on Taobao is nihongli007, said that the formula they sell is from Japan, but is not on the recall list. The seller also said if any buyers bought products on the list from their shop, they could return them.

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