China’s dairy industry was over-shadowed by safety scandals, including one in 2008 involving melamine-tainted milk, which killed six infants and poisoned 300,000 others. The scandal involved some of China’s biggest dairy companies and rippled across the world. Since then, the country’s dairy producers have been fighting to regain consumers’ trust.
Now, thanks to improved milk quality and testing, Chinese consumers are slowly regaining a taste for dairy products, according to a report by the China Daily available here. However, while dairy consumption is improving, it still has a long way to go.
In the past three years, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has carried out special test to ensure raw milk does not contain banned additives, including leather-hydrolyzed protein and melamine. By the end of 2011, the ministry had tested 56,000 random samples of raw milk, and all had tested safe.
Many large dairy companies have also established their own dairies to help ensure a higher quality of milk, and some have imported dairy cattle from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. For years, Chinese leaders have also encouraged more dairy consumption, including a set of nutritional guidelines released in 2007 that urged citizens to consume 300 grams of dairy per day. Read more here.
Even as milk production in the country is expected to reach 50 million tons by 2015, analysts are concerned that some dairy products may experience poor sales as safety-related dairy scandals continue to spook the public. As a result, products imported from overseas are now quickly becoming a top choice for consumers.