China in­ves­ti­gates milk pow­der scam

South Waikato News - - Property - THOMAS MANCH AND AAP

Fon­terra says it does not know if any­one has fallen ill from con­sum­ing its ex­pired milk pow­der, as the NZ dairy gi­ant tries to come to terms with the lat­est scan­dal to en­gulf the Chi­nese food in­dus­try.

Chi­nese po­lice on Mon­day (NZT) ar­rested 19 peo­ple in Shang­hai for sell­ing about 300 tonnes of ex­pired Fon­terra milk pow­der, Shang­hai Daily re­ported.

The sus­pects were al­legedly man­ag­ing a com­pany, which was pack­ag­ing ex­pired prod­ucts of the New Zealand dairy com­pany - one of the most pop­u­lar brands in China - into smaller pack­ages for re­sale be­low mar­ket prices, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

After a months-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the po­lice dis­cov­ered that one of the sus­pects sold the ex­pired prod­ucts to an­other com­pany.

That com­pany, in turn, al­legedly resold al­most 200 tonnes to dis­trib­u­tors in Shang­hai and in the Jiangsu, He­nan and Qing­hai prov­inces, who sold them on e-com­merce plat­forms or in whole­sale.

The au­thor­i­ties have seized 100 tonnes of th­ese prod­ucts and have shut down the web­sites sell­ing them.

Fon­terra spokes­woman Ma­ree Wil­son said on Mon­day night it sup­ported the en­force­ment steps taken by Chi­nese of­fi­cials.

‘‘The Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have acted strongly and swiftly to in­ves­ti­gate and ar­rest the peo­ple they be­lieve are re­spon­si­ble for this and we fully sup­port their ac­tions.

‘‘Food safety is our top pri­or­ity and we are committed to pro­vid­ing safe and high qual­ity dairy prod­ucts.

‘‘We work ac­tively with our di­rect cus­tomers to en­sure the in­tegrity of our prod­ucts.

‘‘This in­cludes pro­vid­ing guide­lines on how to man­age ex­pired prod­uct in a re­spon­si­ble way.

‘‘In this case there ap­pears to have been crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity much fur­ther along the sup­ply chain.

‘‘While we be­lieve this is an iso­lated crim­i­nal in­ci­dent, we are re­view­ing the case in­ter­nally.’’

It’s the lat­est scan­dal to hit China’s be­lea­guered food in­dus­try, where food safety in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing sale of adul­ter­ated or ex­pired prod­ucts have been on the rise.

The dairy sec­tor has been among the worst affected by such in­ci­dents.

Fon­terra says it sup­ports the Chi­nese in their pro­s­ec­tion of Chi­nese com­pa­nies al­leged to have sold ex­pired milk pow­der.

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