Business / Companies

Chinese audit team to visit NZ dairy producers

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-13 08:27

Chinese audit team to visit NZ dairy producers 

A Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd stand at an international dairy products and imported food exposition in Beijing. Provided to China Daily 

Leading New Zealand dairy producer Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd has confirmed that it's among the food producers to be visited by auditors from China's Certification and Accreditation Administration.

The visit, the first of its kind, was initially reported by New Zealand media.

The team will visit some major infant formula manufacturers, part of an effort to strengthen the safety and quality of imported infant and baby formulas in China.

Sources from Fonterra's China office characterized the visit as a regular audit that any responsible nation would conduct to ensure that imported food is safe for consumption.

Chinese audit team to visit NZ dairy producers
Chinese audit team to visit NZ dairy producers

Chinese audit team to visit NZ dairy producers

Apart from New Zealand, the administration will conduct audits in other countries that export dairy products to China, according to Fonterra.

Chinese regulations require all foreign milk powder producers that export to China to register with national authorities.

Fonterra China said: "Such a visit is nothing new. On a monthly basis, we regularly host overseas regulators and customers who visit our factories to view our manufacturing processes. We have been doing so for many years.

"We welcome the opportunity to show our world-class manufacturing sites. We think the visit is a positive opportunity for both Fonterra and New Zealand, because it allows us to showcase our food safety and quality standards."

According to the Southland Times in New Zealand, that nation's Ministry of Primary Industries said the audit was a sample audit of the New Zealand dairy production and regulatory system.

Nine sites will be visited by Chinese authorities, including manufacturing premises, a farm and a laboratory.

New Zealand's second-largest dairy producer, Westland Co-operative Dairy Co, and Chinese-owned Synalit Milk Ltd are also expected to be on the visit list.

Song Liang, an industry analyst, said it is the first time the Chinese government has conducted audits covering imported food.

Only manufacturers that qualify under the audit will be allowed to register, he said.

"The move will have a minor impact on the businesses of leading manufacturers, but it will severely affect some small and medium-sized foreign dairy producers that are not following industry standards," he said.

He said there's speculation that foreign manufacturers will only be permitted to provide a few brands for export to China to ensure safety and quality.

Ultimately, there will be only nine or 10 brands of infant and baby formula imported from New Zealand so that customers can have a better understanding of which brands are trustworthy, Song said.


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