Report shows Chinese-made formula better and cheaper than imports

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

Report shows Chinese-made formula better and cheaper than imports
Chinese consumers are paying more for a lower nutritional content when they opt for foreign-made milk formula, according to a study by the China Dairy Industry Association.

The report, compiled by a third-party inspection agency, was produced in an effort to promote the domestic industry at a time when arrests of infant formula smugglers over two months is twice as high as for those for heroin and other drug runners at Hong Kong’s border over a whole year.

Last week Hong Kong Customs reported that 879 people had been arrested for smuggling the product since new laws were introduced on March 1 to prevent the practice. This figure compares to 420 arrests for drug running in 2012, and demonstrates the demand for foreign formula on the mainland.

Passes and fails

The Dairy Industry Association survey found that formula made in China, regardless of domestic or foreign brand, had a greater nutritional content. It also reported that home-made products cost, on average, only about half the imported ones.

The inspection team randomly tested 25 formula brands in major cities, and indicated that all of the 16 domestic products surveyed met with national nutrition standards.

However, three of the nine imported brands fell short of national standards in lactose-carbohydrate and calcium-phosphorus ratios. None of the 25 samples were found to have food safety problems. 

Most stringent

Liumei Ju Zhang Xinyu of the Dairy Industry Association said the industry has undergone a thorough overhaul over recent years to the point that current standards are “among the most stringent in the world​.”

The Chinese dairy industry has cleaned itself up and improved regulations and standards and management​,” said Liumei Ju.

The quality and safety of the raw materials level has increased significantly. Also, the national regulatory system is powerful. From the measured data, product quality and stability, consumers can feel comfortable buying [domestic formula]​.”

However, critics of the report have claimed that the standards imposed by the government on the industry are unrealistic and may even drive illicit producers into cutting corners to save money on production. 

Have your say: Does this report change your perception of Chinese-made formula? Let us know in the comments below.

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