Analysing equipment that can test milk for traces of melamine has been ordered and is on its way to Mengniu Arla. As soon as this is in place, production will start up again and Mengniu Arla can satisfy Chinese consumers that their milk powder is melamine-free.
All products in store produced up to the temporary halt to production earlier in the week will also be tested before being distributed to Chinese shops. In addition, a lim-ited batch of products about which there is some uncertainty has been withdrawn from the market.
”It’s all a question of consumer safety and peace of mind, and this also applies to our partner Mengniu. We are, like the rest of the dairy industry, under time pressure be-cause consumers have been left in a vacuum without any safe milk for their children,” says Group Executive Director Jais Valeur from China.
The entire Chinese dairy industry has been hit by the melamine discovery. Three out of 28 of Mengniu’s products tested positive for melamine, although the content was much lower than the products initially reported as being behind the illness of many Chinese children. In tested products from Mengniu Arla, no melamine has so far been found.
Mengniu has launched an intensive information campaign on Chinese TV to inform the public what action the dairy is taking to safeguard quality. 10,000 Mengniu sales representatives and other employees throughout China have been briefed by the MD via large screens about the company’s focus on transparency, quality control and consumer confidence.
Although consumer confidence in locally produced milk powder is low, Jais Valeur is not inclined to increase exports of Scandinavian produced milk powder to China.
”This is not a sustainable solution to our involvement in China. A large proportion of the Chinese population cannot afford to buy imported dairy products. Alongside our part-ner, we are focusing on re-establishing the safety of, and confidence in, our locally pro-duced milk powder. The crisis has affected confidence in all dairies in China. We are part of this – just as we’re a part of the solution.”
He is not unduly concerned about Arla’s future involvement in China.
”The authorities are treating the matter extremely seriously and Mengniu’s transparent handling of the current crisis and the focus on quality assurance and the safety of con-sumers has strengthened our confidence in the fact that we have chosen the right part-ner in China. Irrespective of where you are in the world, it is difficult to protect yourself against individuals who act in bad faith. In fact, we didn’t have the imagination to fore-see that certain individuals would deliberately add such a harmful chemical to milk,” says Jais Valeur.
Checking procedures for Mengniu Arla’s milk in China. When weighed in at the independent milk collection depots, milk quality is analysed for the first time The milk is tested a second time when it arrives at Arla partner, Mengniu’s dairies. The Mengniu Arla dairy receives the milk from Mengnui, and the quality is tested again.
The milk is tested for many of the same properties that Arla Foods tests for in Denmark and Sweden – fat, protein, antibiotics etc. So far, milk has not been tested for mela-mine, but testing will begin when production starts up again in a few days. .
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