23 Aug 2013

Controls on infant formula sales outlets tightened in China

1:07 pm on 23 August 2013

China has ordered that all infant formula sold on the mainland is to be sold in pharmacies or in shops that are qualified to sell medicines.

The China Association of International Trade announced that domestic and foreign baby formula will be sold in 20 pharmacies in Beijing and Jiangsu province from October, in a pilot programme that will be extended to 20,000 pharmacies in 500 cities by 2015.

It's seen as another step to improve consumer confidence in formula products, while weeding out fake brands.

However, some dairy industry operators say changing sales channels will do little to improve safety standards or allay consumer fears in the wake of the latest Fonterra contamination scare because the quality of baby formula products is decided by manufacturing processes and the quality of the milk and raw materials.

China National Radio has reported that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology plans to merge or close a large number of mainland dairies that make baby formula. The number will fall from the current 128 to 50 by the end of 2018.