China Pledges New Measures to Safeguard Dairy Industry

On November 20th, the Chinese government announced new safety measures for the milk industry in China:

The State Council, China’s cabinet, issued several new rules that it says will govern all aspects of the industry, from cow breeding and animal feed to the packaging and sale of milk… The government said that it would issue new laws and standards by next October, and that by 2011, “the goal is to have well-bred cows and a mass-producing dairy industry,” according to Xinhua, the official news agency.

This is not the first time regulators have vowed to clean up China’s fast-growing agriculture industry. A similar cry erupted last year when it was discovered that melamine-tainted pet food ingredients from China had sickened cats and dogs in the United States. China banned melamine as an animal feed additive.

But this month, China disclosed that scores of feed manufacturers and chemical suppliers were still selling the substance.

The Chinese government has increased the number of inspectors operating in China, and the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture will revise their quality, safety, and examination standards:

The State Council asked local governments to supply necessary instruments and devices to quality control and agricultural departments, so as to ensure regular examination of dairy products.

Subsidies would be paid to cow farmers and loans be granted to dairy companies, to help them weather the current crisis.

A tracking system will be established to record the flow and delivery of dairy products. Dairy companies are also required to meet the production standard GB 12693 within three years, or risk stopping production.

See also past posts on food safety.

[Image courtesy of the International Herald Tribune]

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