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Live worms in milk ‘impossible’ - Mengniu

By Mark Astley , 10-Sep-2012

Chinese dairy giant Mengniu Dairy Co. has denied a claim that live worms were found in a carton of its milk, stating that it would be “impossible” for the creatures to survive its heat-treatment processes.

According to reports from China, a woman in the south east province of Fujian discovered several “still-squirming” white worms in a carton of Mengniu-brand high-calcium milk.

Shocked, the woman and her husband poured the remaining milk into a glass and shot a video of the worm-ridden milk, the reports added.

The couple has demanded 100,000 Yuan ($15,775, €12,340) in compensation from Mengniu – a request the firm has turned down.

Survival “impossible”

In a statement posted on its Weibo social media page, Mengniu claimed that it would be impossible for the worms to survive its processing measures.

“The Swedish Tetra Pak filling and production technology – including filtration, separation, homogenous, pre-treatment, and UHT processing at 137 degrees Celsius – would make it impossible for any insect to survive inside our ultra-high-moderate sealed packaging,” said the statement.

“However, the consumer has insisted that the company give them at least 100,000 Yuan in compensation. This request has not been met.”

“In this regard I express regret, but we are willing to so-operate with the relevant departments during an investigation,” the Mengniu statement added.

Scandal hit

Mengniu, was is ranked among the top 20 dairy companies in the world, is no stranger to the numerous food safety-related scandals that have tainted the reputation of the Chinese dairy industry.

Earlier this year, a Mengniu sales manager was arrested under suspicion of altering the production dates on thousands of cases of milk products manufactured by the firm.

The firm has, however, taken a number of steps in the last year in an attempt to distance its brand from the safety concerns that have engulfed the country's dairy sector.

In June 2012, Mengniu’s largest shareholder, COFCO, signed an agreement with Arla Foods, through which the Danish dairy co-operative became an in-direct shareholder of Mengniu. Under the deal, it was agreed that a China-Denmark Milk Technology and Cooperation Centre would be established to provide European-standard expertise on milk quality and safety, traceability and controlled milk production.

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