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China's dairy giants take oath to uphold ethics
By Wang Jianfen (
Updated: 2008-12-19 17:40

China's biggest dairy companies Mengniu and Yili each took an oath on Thursday to uphold business ethics and provide safe products, as part of a nationwide campaign to bolster severely-damaged consumer confidence in the aftermath of the nation's tainted milk scandal.

Milk products made by Sanlu, Yili and Mengniu, along with many other leading Chinese brands, were found in September to contain melamine, an industrial chemical normally used to make plastics but is banned in the food industry.

Jiang Xiwei, deputy chief of staff of Publicity Department of the CCCPC, speaks Thursday at Mengniu's oath-taking ceremony in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. []

An oath-taking ceremony is being held Thursday at Mengniu's headquarters in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.[]

Mengniu employee representatives take an oath Thursday to uphold business ethics and provide safe products at their headquarters in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. []

"We solemnly promise here that we will uphold professional ethics, abide by the law, improve management, take strict quality control of raw milk, perfect after-sales services and take full responsibility for every step in providing our products," Mengniu employee representatives said in an oath Thursday morning at their headquarters in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, one of China's dairy heartlands. (For the video in Chinese, please visit:

Full coverage:
 100 food companies pledge to uphold ethics (in Chinese)
 Mengniu takes oath (in Chinese)
 Yili takes oath (in Chinese)

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 Milk quality 'greatly improved' after melamine scandal
 Latest-tested milk 'safe': quality watchdog
 Dairy giants pledge to improve quality control
 Milk product quality key issue for worried consumers

The company's employees at eight different locations outside of Hohhot also took the oath simultaneously and the scenes could be seen on a big screen at the headquarters.

Ding Junqing, a dairy farmer, made a speech at the ceremony. "I now understand that it is compulsory for farmers to improve our ethics. On behalf of the dairy farmers, I promise here that we will raise cows and sell milk honestly, and will never add illegal chemicals to raw milk." China's dairy companies have blamed farmers and milk station managers for the scandal, saying some unscrupulous individuals were mixing melamine into the milk to give it the appearance of having a higher protein content.

Mengniu and Yili said quality checks have intensified since the scandal emerged and Mengniu has installed special equipment to test for melamine. As a precaution, Mengniu has begun to conduct research on other potentially harmful chemicals.

On Thursday, Yao Haitao, vice-president of Mengniu, urged the government to do more to regulate farmers and milk stations. "We have taken control of milk stations to ensure product safety. But the power of a company is limited. We hope the entire society, especially the government will also join in the effort. We hope the government will crack down on illegal activities."

Na Ren, a consumer who has been invited as a special quality inspector by Mengniu, promised that she would make independent, honest and fair inspections. Mengniu has invited 10,000 consumers to help inspect the production process.

Wei Lincong, vice-president of Yili, also called for the entire society to help supervise milk stations and farmers. The company plans to invest more than 500 million yuan in 2008 and 2009 and take 100 percent control of milk collection by 2010.

However Mengniu and Yili noted that the key to improving the quality of raw milk is developing large-scale dairy farms.

Yao said Mengniu plans to build 20 new modern farms, each with more than 10,000 cows in the next few years. It currently has seven such farms.

An oath-taking ceremony is being held at Yili's headquarters in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

Yili employees took the same oath Thursday afternoon at their headquarters, also located in Hohhot.

Mengniu and Yili are the third and fourth food companies to take the oath in a nationwide campaign organized by seven governmental agencies, including the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC), Civilization Office of the CCCPC, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, State-owned Assets Supervision & Administration Commission of the State Council, State Administration for Industry and Commerce, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China, and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce. A total of 100 food-producing companies will take the oath in the campaign, which was launched on December 9 when Beijing-based dairy giant Sanyuan, took the oath.

"I hope the company [Mengniu] will keep its promise and become a reliable brand," said Jiang Xiwei, deputy chief of staff of Publicity Department of the CCCPC, at Mengniu's oath-taking ceremony.