A high-level Chinese dairy delegation will visit the Hayden family farm in Tinahely, Co Wicklow today on the first day of a three-day (12th-15th) visit to Ireland.
The Chinese delegation includes representatives from the China Food & Drug Administration (CFDA) led by Minister Bi Jingquan, in addition to CEOs and senior representatives from some of China’s leading dairy and infant formula companies including Beingmate, Yili, Yashili, Sanyuan and Mengniu.
Also travelling is the Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online commerce company and Vanguard, the 3rd largest supermarket chain in Hong Kong.
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The 300 acre, 160 dairy cow farm, is operated by brothers, Joe and Michael Hayden to a very high standard with a strong focus on improving milk quality, grassland management and strong environmental practices.
The farm, a Glanbia supplier, is a member of Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS). Bord Bia’s CEO Aidan Cotter will welcome the group to the farm today, in addition to representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Glanbia.
Joe Hayden will provide a detailed farm tour where delegates will hear about the traceability, controls and standards on Irish dairy farms, the production of milk from grass and the growth of the Irish dairy industry.
Focus of visit
Food safety is a key concern for the Chinese authorities and a number of new laws have been introduced in China in recent times.
This visit also allows the Chinese authorities to update Irish officials on its new regulations.
Largest dairy importer in the world
China is the largest dairy importer in the world and is the second largest market for Irish dairy exports after the UK, valued at €400 million in 2014.
China accounts for close to a 1/3 of the global consumption of infant formula and infant formula (€300 million) accounts for the largest proportion of Ireland’s food and drink exports to China.
Ireland is the 2nd largest exporter of finished infant formula to the Chinese market, after the Netherlands, representing 17% of the import market share.
Ireland produces almost 10% of global and 40% of European infant formula volumes.
Later this evening the Chinese industry delegation will attend a networking dinner hosted by Bord Bia with the leading figures from the Irish dairy industry.
Who are the CFDA?
The CFDA was founded on the basis of the former State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
In March 2013, the regulatory body was rebranded and restructured as the China Food and Drug Administration, elevating it to a ministerial-level agency.
The CFDA are responsible for the supervision of the safety management of food, health food and cosmetics and is the competent authority of drug regulation in China.