04/30/2013, 00.00

China, after melamine milk scandal, powder milk smuggled from Europe and Hong Kong

Chinese parents who can afford it, try to buy European brands online or smuggle them in from the former British colony. So much so that now a purchase limit has been put in place. Clamp down on milk smugglers tighter than cocaine smugglers.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The scandal of melamine-tainted milk, which destroyed the marketing of milk powder in 2008 and cast serious doubts on the industrial food production in China, is still having a massive effect on the market: despite Beijing's attempts to silence the issue, in fact, five years on Chinese parents still do not trust domestic products and will do everything they can to buy in foreign ones.

The first to realize the opportunity to be made were the European suppliers, on the back their supermarkets literally being raided by wealthy Chinese tourists who have recently become parents. To the extent that different brands have imposed a purchase limit and have had to apologize to European customers for the inconvenience. Danone, the food industry giant, writes in a statement: "We know that the growth in demand comes from unofficial exports to China, due to Chinese parents who want foreign brands for  their children".

The proximity of Hong Kong with Mainland China has made it the main gateway for "smuggling" imported milk. The restrictions on the purchase and export of milk powder came into force on 1 March: since April 23, border police have arrested 879 people with a total of 8,841 pounds of illegal milk powder. In the past year only 420 smugglers in heroin, cocaine and ketamine have been arrested.

To try to calm the waters, the Chinese government has published reports  noting the improvements in quality and standards of the home produced milk powder and sold at a much cheaper price than the international brands. However, the fact that the research was commissioned by the Association of Chinese dairy industry and then published in the government Beijing Times has failed to convince the majority of consumers.

The melamine milk scandal - chemical used in the plastics and glue - exploded in China in 2008, when the untimely death of 6 infants and excruciating pain reported by other 300 thousand children forced the authorities to open an investigation on industrial production in the food that ended with some arrests but without any sweeping reform.


Printable version
See also
Journalists attacked in front of the house of activist arrested over the melamine scandal
Mainland fish feed sold in Hong Kong found with high melamine levels
Beijing admits almost 300,000 infants sick from melamine-tainted milk
Zhao, in prison for defending children, "renounces" appeal
Milk scandal: closed door trial for seeking justice for sick children