In recent years a series of infant milk powder incident continued into the Chinese public eyes and have a tremendous negative impact on the society, which not only weakened the government’s credibility, and make milk enterprises suffered shock, but also caused significant damage to the interests of consumers. After the Chinese local milk powder produced melamine incident, the Chinese baby’s parents are no longer to trust the domestic milk powder brand. The Chinese parents begin to buy the milk powder from the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and other foreign countries where the qualities of milk powder are pretty good. Due to the huge demand, ‘milk powder was exported’ the situation occurs in those countries. Although the Chinese Milk Association said that the domestic milk powder sampling pass rate reached 99%, but many parents still choose the import milk power, they consist that even if 1% of the low quality milk powder will influence there next generation. From the survey among the young parents it can be seen, there is a big quality gap between the domestic milk powder and imported milk powder. Moreover, the sampling test results cannot show the real situation of the domestic milk situation. If the results can be trust, many milk incidents in China will not happen. For the babies’ parents, the results cannot be trust, the Chinese local milk powder brands have already loose the dependence of the consumers. The Chinese consumers crazy to buy the Netherland’s and other countries’ milk powder, it makes the milk powder shortage in those country. There local milk powder production cannot meet the huge demand of Chinese consumer, so in many places the infant milk powder was undersupplying. Many local parents protest about it. In order to solve the milk powder shortage, some foreign government published the ‘Milk powder purchase order ’ to limit the purchase of milk powder, even some big supermarkets and milk powder company also formulate the rules to limit the purchase of milk powder.(Source: articles by He Qinglian)
The milk powder incidences in China
Infant milk powder safety is related to many families and the government must pay attention about it. However, in China the milk powder problem happened frequently in recent year. From the 2004 ‘Anhui Fuyang milk powder incident’ to the 2008 ‘SanLu milk powder incident’ the companies have already loose the dependence of the consumers, and these kind of incidents have already lead to 4 infant’s death.
SanLu, a giant dairy enterprise in China, added illegitimate and lethal chemical—melamine to food to increase protein content.（melamine originally is a kind of industrial products, which cannot be added. But adding melamine can increases the protein content of milk, so as to meet the national fresh milk protein quality standard.）Many infants who ate the SanLu milk powder were detected with melamine calculus. The government spent millions of dollars treating these babies.
Since it happened in 2008, the Chinese government begin to formulate and publish some new rules to guarantee the quality of domestic milk powder. To address the problem, China’s quality watchdog raised the bar on food safety, revoking a special status that helped some producers avoid inspections. The government will immediately cease bestowing “inspection-free” status on food producers, ordering them to stop citing the privilege in advertisements.
The milk powder purchase order in different country
In June 2012, the United States Target, Walmart and other supermarkets issued milk powder 5 to 12 boxes of the purchase order.
In September 2012, New Zealand local supermarkets posted the Chinese marked “milk powder one person once the purchase of two cans” of the purchase order, but after more than two months after the rectification, the New Zealand government lifted “restriction”.
In October 2012, a number of large supermarket chains in Australia, pharmacies posted signs of Chinese limited purchase, each purchase 3 cans.
In January 2013, the German supermarket “DM” start a purchase order on the local infant formula, each purchase 4 boxes.
In January 2013, the Dutch business enterprises to purchase the spontaneous, in the local supermarkets, department stores, and pharmacies to buy milk powder, each purchase from 1 to 3 cans.
The UK’s largest supermarkets (Morrison, Sainsbury and Tesco) have already announced the purchase of two cans of baby milk powder to each person.
What should the Chinese government do?
The situation of domestic milk powder is similar to many agricultural products. On one hand the domestic production capacity is limited, and the quality is not high. On the other hand the similar international products have good quality, but the price is lower than the domestic. It is not an easy task for the government to consider the domestic producers and protect the development of related industries, as well as the affordability of consumers and the impact on the international market. But the government should at least ensure the safety of domestic products, and guide consumers to buy domestic products. The state should strengthen supervision of the food industry to ensure that domestic milk powder to achieve the same quality and safety standards of foreign milk in order to break the people’s crazy purchase of foreign milk powder. Discussing the Food Safety Legislation from the Sanlu Milk Powder Scandal. Firstly，the government needs everything possible to ensure the quality of products，particularly the safety of food as this concerns everyone’s life. Secondly，as for the producers，it is very important for them to be morally honest. They should never try to pursue profit or economic growth at the expense of health and life of people. Thirdly，we consumers must attach importance to the things we eat and develop an awareness of how to protect our legal rights if cheated.