Trade & Investment
NZ to publish registered infant formula products for China: report
Last Updated: 2013-07-22 17:44 | Xinhua
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New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is expected to publish this month a list of registered brand names of New Zealand infant formula products exported to China, Radio New Zealand reported Monday.

The list would be made available to consumers as well as Chinese authorities so they could check that formulas carrying New Zealand labels were valid.

MPI introduced the new infant formula brand register, which requires companies exporting to China to have the specific brand name included on the export certificate, last month.

China had asked for brand information to be added to export certificates as part of its efforts to crack down on false labelling.

MPI said 30 exporters had registered their brands last month, and they were required to provide more detailed information by July 6, including copies of actual labels approved by Chinese regulators with translations and associated formulation information, said the report.

The main opposition Labour Party claimed Monday that the new labelling requirements would mean Chinese parents would receive more information about what they were feeding their babies than New Zealand parents.

It was time for the government to protect domestic consumers in the same way by making Country of Origin Labeling mandatory, Labour primary industries and food safety spokesperson Damien O' Connor said in a statement.

"That would provide the same level of information and protection for Kiwi parents as these latest changes will mean for Chinese ones," said O'Connor.

New Zealand authorities are tightening regulations on infant formula exporters after concerns raised in China about the reliability of some brands and products appearing in the Chinese market, and as Chinese authorities conduct their own investigations into infant formula companies.

In June, New Zealand Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said she had asked the MPI to undertake an audit to identify any areas for improvement, including verification, compliance and testing regimes.

She had also ordered a check that New Zealand's Overseas Market Access Requirements were in line with changes being introduced in China's regulations for infant formula.

New Zealand's infant formula exports are estimated at about 600 million NZ dollars (474.83 million U.S. dollars) a year, with approximately 170 million NZ dollars of that going to China.

Cans of imported formula reportedly fetch up to 70 NZ dollars each in China and more than 200 brands are estimated to be produced in New Zealand, but most of them are produced at contract manufacturing plants.

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