reports China’s new dairy standards have received criticism for being the loosest in the world and have dropped below the country’s previous requirements for raw milk.

Wang Dingmian, chairman of the Guangzhou Dairy Association, has been quoted by multiple Chinese news sources on the country’s dairy standards which took effect on June 1.

Dingmian said the Ministry of Health adjusted the standards as dairy producers pressured officials so they could increase profits by cutting production costs.

The standards increased the maximum limit for bacteria in raw milk from 500,000 to 2 million cells per milliliter while the minimum protein content required has dropped from 2.95 to 2.8 grams per 100 grams. Western nations require a protein content of at least 3 grams per 100 grams of milk and a bacterial count of around 100,000 per milliliter of raw milk.

The Ministry of Health defended the new guidelines with survey data showing 90 percent of China’s milk had a protein count of less than 2.95 grams.

An association in another Chinese province supported the new standards. He said more strict standards would cut out small farmers who can’t afford higher sanitary conditions which would yield higher quality milk. Over 60 percent of the country’s dairy cows would not be able to contribute to the dairy supply if higher standards were in place.

Officials at the Guangzhou Dairy Association have not commented on Dingmian’s accusations.

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