Chinese infant milk crackdown hurts Australian exports

Infant milk formula exports to China have plummeted
due to new registration requirements.

The ABC reports that imported brands of infant formula
in the country have slumped from 1,000 to under 100.

The crackdown on fake brands has led to much tougher
registration requirements, and of 19 infant milk formula brands from Australia,
only two have been approved by the Chinese Certification and Accreditation
Administration.

Exports were previously growing strongly, and were worth $76 million
last year, up from $56 million in 2011.

As the Wall Street Journal explains, the crackdown caps
a “six-year campaign to rebuild China’s
dairy industry after a scandal over melamine-tainted baby milk in 2008 put
local brands under a cloud.” The melamine scandal saw the deaths of a
reported six infants.

The process to meet the new standards was described as “extremely
intense” by Australian Dairy Park, one of only two Australian producers that
have gained accreditation.

“It was a very thorough audit, from traceability all the way through the
system,” the company’s general manager, Ken Thomas, told the ABC.

“The actual audit itself was a fairly intense one-day audit. It was
really three months of solid work before the audit.

“So the period between the start of this year and March was primarily
not spent on manufacture but on preparing ourselves for registration.”

Image: AFP/Getty Images