19 arrested in China for selling expired milk powder

Police in China have arrested 19 people after it was found that they were selling out-of-date milk powder from Fonterra.

In total over 300t of expired milk powder was found to be sold by the suspects.

Following investigations by the police, a food company was found to be packaging the products into small packages and selling them on.

It has since emerged that several other distributors in four provinces in the country were selling the expired products via both wholesale and e-commerce platforms.

The involved online stores are understood to have been shut.

A Fonterra spokesman told Agriland that food safety is Fonterra’s top priority and that the company is committed to providing safe and high quality dairy products.

We support the enforcement steps taken by Chinese officials. We believe this is an isolated criminal incident.

This is the latest milk powder scandal to hit China in recent years. Last year police found thousands of empty infant formula containers and printing and labelling materials with the Beingmate label illegally branded on the containers.

Beingmate, one of the largest sellers of infant formula in China, is tasked with selling  Kerry Group’s ‘Green Love’ infant formula in China, as well as product for Fonterra. The negative fallout saw Beingmate’s profit predictions drop following the scandal.

Chinese infant formula market

Europe is a big player in the Chinese infant formula market, with 73% of imported formula to China in 2015 coming from Europe.

Ireland (14%) is the second largest exporter of infant formula to China, after the Netherlands (32%).

Infant formula is Irelands largest export item to China and plays an important role for the growth of our dairy industry, according to Bord Bia.

Bord Bia has said that Ireland’s reputation for high-quality iconic brands in the category plays an important factor in positioning Ireland as a premium source of food with middle and high income consumers in China.