- 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
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
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.