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Baby formula will go on sale in pharmacies

(Shanghai Daily)

13:09, June 22, 2013

Baby formula will be sold at pharmacies on a trial basis and substandard foreign milk powder will be banned from the domestic market when new regulations take effect in China.

The new regulations, the toughest measures against malpractice in milk powder production and distribution so far, were issued by nine ministries and administrations in a circular.

The circular did not say when the new rules will take effect.

Selling baby formula through drug stores can better guarantee product quality because they face stricter management, said Teng Jiacai, deputy director of the State Food and Drug Administration.

The practice will be introduced on a trial basis and cans of baby formula that will expire within 30 days should be taken off the shelf or marked with a warning, he said. Formula will still be sold at other types of stores.

Companies in China will be forbidden from outsourcing the production of baby formulas, repackaging them and redistributing them, which is common in the industry and leads to the adulteration of imported milk powder, Teng said.

He added that companies will be suspended from operating if they violate the new regulations. Substandard milk powder imported from other countries shall be eliminated from the market, according to the circular.

Companies found guilty of dishonest practices will be blacklisted and banned from importing and exporting infant formula, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Foreign producers that export baby formula to China need to register with Chinese quality inspectors before May 2014. They will be banned from the China market if they fail to register before the deadline, the administration said.

Foreign-made baby formulas with less than three months on the expiry period will be banned from China. All products need to have a Chinese description (tag) before entering the Chinese market.

Gao Fu, a senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said new baby formula companies will not be approved before 2015.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said it will continuously improve standards for baby formula based on international practices.

In 2008, baby formula containing melamine led to the deaths of at least six babies and sickened 300,000 others.

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