China Food Melamine-free Label

China Food Melamine-free Label

Taipei Report 2008-9-27

The Department of Health said five labs certified to test for melamine had been working night and day to cope with the growing backlog of samples.

China Food Melamine-free Label

Newly Department of Health Minister Yeh Chin-chuan checks products containing milk powder that are still on sale at a Taipei supermarket yesterday. The store has displayed copies of certification to prove that the products have been tested and found to meet Department of Health regulations.


Meanwhile the DOH said yesterday that it would step up its random examination of food products from countries with dubious food safety standards.

“We have targeted products from certain countries with questionable standards and we do not rule out the possibility of carrying out the strictest batch-by-batch examinations of suspect products,” Yeh said, declining to name any countries.

Asked to comment on the scandal involving Pizza Hut, Yeh said it was only one case and that the source of the tainted ingredients had yet to be identified.

Pizza Hut on Friday reported to the DOH that 65,000 packets of cheese powder contaminated with up to 76.2ppm of melamine may have been consumed by its customers.

Pizza Hut has since recalled all unused cheese packets.

To date, five cases of kidney stones have been reported nationwide that could be linked to melamine.


The Department of Health (DOH) said the nation’s five laboratories certified for testing, including the Food Industry Research and Development Institute, had been working night and day to cope with the growing backlog of companies that need to have products tested.

The DOH said it planned to have another 16 labs certified by the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation to help with melamine testing.

The labs, when ready, will accept samples seven days a week, it said.

Yeh said yesterday that the DOH would meet local health authorities in 25 counties and cities tomorrow to coordinate inspection procedures.

On Tuesday, the DOH will contact experts in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the EU to collaborate on standard inspection procedures and setting a threshold for melamine detection, he said.


Yeh said the government was responsible for screening all imported foodstuffs and that all agencies, including the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine and the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis would “apply the strictest screening standards.”

In response to a report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that customs personnel had not yet received lists of banned imports, Yeh said the task force had confirmed that instructions on banned products — including Chinese-made milk powder, other dairy products and vegetable-based proteins — had been issued as early as Tuesday.

Not one banned product has made it past Taiwan’s borders since, he said.


China government strengthens quality supervision on export goods and foods

China's Sanlu admits contamination of baby milk powder products

China government strengthens quality supervision on export goods and foods

Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Monday ordered its local agencies to step up quality supervision efforts targeted at export-oriented foods, dairy products, medicines, toys and furniture products.

This notice came after tainted dairy products sickened thousands of infants in the country.

China's tainted milk scandal spread beyond the mainland to Hong Kong, as doctors in the city discovered a kidney stone in a 3-year-old girl, Bloomberg reported. The girl's parents took her for a checkup after learning the milk she had been drinking for 15 months - made by mainland dairy firm Yili - may contain the chemical melamine. At least four children have died after consuming tainted milk products, and the number of hospitalized cases has risen almost ninefold to 12,892, according to CCTV, the state broadcaster. Of these, 104 patients are in a serious condition.

China's tainted milk scandal

A total of 39,965 children have visited clinics due to illness induced by the tainted products. Milk products made by Sanlu, the company first exposed in the scandal, are thought to be responsible for most of the hospitalizations so far. However, a further 21 Chinese dairy producers have been implicated, including the three largest: Yili, China Mengniu and Bright Dairy & Food.

The scandal was brought to light on Sept. 11 when the Beijing-based Ministry of Health said it found melamine in baby formula made by Sanlu Group Co., 43 percent owned by Auckland, New Zealand-based Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd.

Chinese quality-supervision authorities said on Sept. 19 that they had found melamine in 24 batches of liquid milk and yogurt. The Chinese and Hong Kong governments have set up telephone hotlines for distributing medical information to concerned parents and recalled milk products that tests show may contain melamine, a toxic chemical used for making plastics and tanning leather.

China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce had paid refunds for 304 tons of dairy products as of Sept. 20, according to Xinhua News Agency. In China, 39,965 children have visited clinics after falling ill from the powder, the official CCTV reported.

"Local commerce agencies should set up special quality supervision working groups and establish export-oriented product quality reporting system on those foods and goods that may affect consumers' health and safety," said the MOC in a notice on its website.

If serious export goods quality problems occur, local market watchdogs should report the issue to higher authorities without delaying. Manufacturers should be responsible for recalling all the problem products immediately, according to the ministry.


US Retail Titan Insists on Sourcing Goods from China

HONG KONG (AFP) — US retail titan Wal-Mart Wednesday said soaring production and commodity costs would not damage its ability to source goods from China, and it even expected an improvement in the product standards.

Wal-Mart Sourcing China Goods

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it will set up its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong.

The retailer is considering its first stores in Southeast Asia and expects to approach 10% growth in international sales to $100 billion this fiscal year despite a global economic slowdown.

"The new Wal-Mart office in Hong Kong will oversee the company's operations in mainland China, India and Japan, as well as identify new business opportunities for the company throughout Asia," Wal-Mart Asia President Vicente Trius said in a statement. Wal-Mart, which operates more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and 3,000 stores in 13 other countries, posted $90.6 billion in international sales last fiscal year, about a quarter of overall revenue.

"Hong Kong is the perfect location from which to operate a regional headquarters for Asia, as it is centrally located and offers ready access to markets across the region," he said.

The company didn't give a time frame for opening the Asian headquarters. The Bentonville, Ark., retailer, a runner-up to Carrefour SA in China in terms of sales and stores, is enjoying a huge leap in market share as it advances a $1 billion acquisition of local chain Trust-Mart, expected to be fully completed by 2010.

"I foresee international will outpace the U.S. in terms of percentage of growth. We should be approaching the $100 billion mark this year for international," Mr. Trius said.

Wal-Mart recently posted a 17% jump in its second-quarter profit to $3.45 billion, on the back of a 17% increase in international sales to $25.26 billion.

Vicente Trius, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Asia, said that China had been a stable source of products and would remain so in the coming years.

"The economic downturn or inflation or high production cost has not had an impact specific to our sourcing in China as compared to other countries," he told reporters as he launched the company's regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

"My gut feeling is that the quality of Chinese goods will give a competitive advantage as we go forward," he said.

While other emerging markets might compete on price, China will also be able to compete on quality, he added.

Wal-Mart has built much of its success on being able to source cheap products from China's factories, but growing commodity and wage inflation has put the factories under greater pressure.

Trius insisted the global economic slowdown had not hurt their retail businesses in the mainland, which saw 16 percent growth over the last 12 months.

"China is an extremely fragmented market. Any retailer there would have less than one percent market share, which I believe offers us a lot of opportunities," he said.

Despite choosing Hong Kong as the regional base ahead of Singapore and Shanghai, Trius said Wal-Mart had no immediate plans to open a store in the southern Chinese city.

"I would say the availability of properties is a challenge here. We are not talking about prices," he said.

Hong Kong's supermarket sector is dominated by two conglomerate-backed players who have managed to fight off any foreign entry, most notably French giant Carrefour.

Appendix Report

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is opening an Asian headquarters in Hong Kong to oversee the mega-retailer's operations on the continent. Wal-Mart announced the Hong Kong headquarters Wednesday saying it picked the trade hub over other possible Asian locations.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) relies heavily on Chinese imports for its discount retail model.

"Just as the Wal-Mart America's regional office in Miami oversees the company's operations in Canada, Central and South America, the new Wal-Mart office in Hong Kong will oversee the company's operations in Mainland China, India and Japan, as well as identify new business opportunities for the company throughout Asia," said Wal-Mart Asia CEO Vicente Trius in a statement.

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