Calls to strengthen standards for NZ baby milk exports to China

New Zealand is being urged to strengthen the standards for infant formula manufacture and to thereby realise the full potential of its exports to the Chinese baby milk market.

New Zealand is being urged to strengthen the standards for infant formula manufacture and to thereby realise the full potential of its exports to the Chinese baby milk market.

As stuff.co.nz reports, infant formula exports to China are estimated to be worth NZ$8.2 billion to the economy.

In an effort to highlight New Zealand’s anti-counterfeiting efforts, the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association will make a presentation to the Chinese media at this month's Mother and Baby Expo in Beijing. The presentation will outline its work accrediting suppliers and approving brands.

And Chief Executive of Westland Milk Products Rod Quin, who recently visited China as part of a trade and political mission led by Prime Minister John Key, has also called for an extra focus on infant formula standards.

Historically, the counterfeiting of infant formula has been a problem in China and the nation understandably takes a strong stand on the issue.

For example, in 2008 the nation experienced a melamine baby milk powder doctoring scandal which resulted in the deaths of babies and long term kidney problems.

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is understood to be working on the issue of standards alignment.

The importance and sensitivity of the issue were highlighted earlier this year when a chemical residue was found in Fonterra milk powder.

The MPI’s handling of the situation came in for much local criticism at the time.