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Consumers slowly regaining taste for dairy

By Jin Zhu  (China Daily)

13:09, September 25, 2012

The quality of milk produced domestically improved after the melamine-tainted milk scandal of 2008, authorities said.

Yet analysts say the country's dairy products continue to live under a shadow, affecting consumption trends.

The Ministry of Agriculture has been carrying out special tests since 2009 to examine whether raw fresh milk contains banned additives, including melamine and leather-hydrolyzed protein.

By the end of last year, 56,000 sample batches of raw fresh milk had been collected randomly from wholesalers and delivery vehicles nationwide, and all tested safe, the ministry said in a statement.

"The quality of raw fresh milk has improved significantly," the statement added.

The test started after six infants were killed and about 300,000 others were poisoned by tainted milk in 2008, according to the Health Ministry.

Former dairy giant Sanlu Group and 21 other companies were found to have contaminated products with melamine, a chemical that can cause kidney problems.

The chemical was added to dairy products by milk farmers to boost protein count.

Also, sources with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine showed that the country had 701 dairy companies last year.

The number was far lower than the previous 1,176, as almost 500 companies had been ordered to stop production after failing to meet new licensing requirements, the administration said.

To ensure that the quality of milk remained high, some large dairy companies set up their own farms.

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