Song Kungang, head of the China Dairy Association (CDA), told a Beijing conference that dairy and infant formula quality in the country was reaching unparalleled levels.
Kungang said that in the random sample inspections that the association and food safety authorities have been conducting, more than 99% of the samples passed quality and safety tests.
Kungang said the Chinese dairy industry had seen some fundamental changes since the melamine incident in 2008, when a nationwide contamination scandal involving the lacing of milk powder with the industrial chemical killed six and sickened an estimated 300,000.
“The industry has been cleaned up, the licensing system improved and better implemented, and the process of product monitoring checks has also been improved,” Kungang said.
According to the CDA, the new quality control (QC) revised standards for infant formula milk powders are now on par with western standards.
Better processing technologies and quality assurance systems couple with a more stringent regulatory environment have also helped improve product standards, the CDA said.
More work to be done
Despite the improvements, at the same conference a top official of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said more work was required to strengthen food safety in the dairy industry.
Ma Chunliang, deputy director of the department of supervision on food production at AQSIQ said the regulator should further tighten its quality inspection process on raw materials.
He added that the entire production system needed some tweaking and that a system needed to be implemented to improve the traceability system for effective product recalls during a food safety incident.