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Chinese Dairy products recovers from high safety scandal

Following eight years of tightened regulation and an industry overhaul the Chinese dairy products are emerging from the shadow cast by high-profile safety scandals, according to a report released Tuesday.

The quality of domestic milk products has improved substantially, according to a report from the Dairy Association of China (DAC). It was the first DAC report released to the public.

Official spot checks last year showed 99.5 percent of dairy products were up to standard and no illegal additives, such as melamine, had been detected for 7 consecutive years, the report said. Some major indicators, including nutrient content, exceeded the standards of the United States, Europe and Australia.

“Domestic milk products appear to be one of the safest foods in China,” Wang Jiaqi, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and researcher with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said during a press conference for the report’s release.

China has been trying to regain the trust of the public, which had been bruised by scandals in recent years.

To revive the battered industry, the Chinese authorities passed strict laws, tightened supervision, shut down unqualified dairy operations, encouraged industry consolidation and increased policy support to improve milk quality.

Thanks to those measures, the quality of the milk has since improved greatly and the industry has expanded greatly.

The country produced up to 38.7 million tons of milk products last year or 4.8 percent of the world’s total, ranking third after India and the United States, the report showed.

Per capital consumption of dairy reached 36.1 kilograms, up 5.9 kilograms from 2008.

More than twenty major domestic dairy companies account for more than half of the total output and revenue of the whole industry.

The global reputation of the Chinese dairy industry is also on the rise. Industry giants Yili Group and Mengniu Dairy squeezed onto a 2015 list of the world’s top 20 dairy companies published by Dutch banking and finance group Rabobank. Junlebao’s baby formula earned the top quality and safety certificate from BRC Global Standards last year, and Modern Farming has won gold awards two years in a row from the Brussels-based Modern Selection, which judge’s food quality.

“China’s dairy industry has seen dramatic changes,” DAC vice president Gu Jicheng said.

Gu believes there is still much room for improvement, but Chinese companies will hopefully be able to face their global rivals in another eight to ten years.


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