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China cuts number of permitted imported infant formula brands to less than 100

By Mark Astley+

Last updated on 03-Jun-2014 at 15:48 GMT2014-06-03T15:48:53Z

China cuts number of permitted imported infant formula brands to 94

Just 94 foreign infant formula brands have so far been given approval for sale in China under new regulations - down from reportedly more than 800.

The China Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) announced on June 1 2014 that so far 94 foreign liquid and powdered infant formula brands manufactured at 49 separate firms across Europe, Asia and North America have been granted permission to enter the country.

Abbott Laboratories, Nutricia, Arla Foods, Nestlé, Mead Johnson Nutrition, FrieslandCampina Domo, Fonterra and Murray Goulburn were among the names that made it on to the list.

According to reports from China, the number of imported infant formula brands was previously between 800 and 1,000. 

Products manufactured by infant formula firms that do not feature on the CNCA List of Registered Overseas Dairy Manufacturers are not permitted to enter China. The list can be updated at any time based on the applications filed by foreign infant formula makers, said CNCA.

Accredited manufacturers

The CNCA list was established in line with the issuance of Decree 145, otherwise known as Administrative Measures for Registration of Overseas Manufacturers, by the State General Administration of the People's Republic of China for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine.

Under the revised regulation, foreign authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the New Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), are required to provide CNCA with a list of accredited manufacturers. 

In April 2014, the MPI revealed that a Chinese audit - required for addition to the CNCA list - of 13 New Zealand infant formula manufatcurers found that "all but one...have some actions they need to undertake before registration will be complete." 

Despite this forecast, eight New Zealand infant formula manufacturers - Nutricia, Westland Cooperative, Canpac International, Guardians, the Sutton Group, Dairy Goat Cooperative NZ, Fonterra, and GMP Dairy - have made it on to the list.

Domestic crackdown

CNCA efforts have been mirrored domestically over the last six-months with a campaign to boost the standard of domestically-produced infant formula.

The crackdown, which was designed to "further strengthen the quality and safety" of infant formula made in the country, involved the development of new, stricter manufacturing measures.

Last week, the China Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) announced that production permits held by more than one-third of the country's infant formula manufacturers had not been renewed.

In a statement posted on its website, SFDA said that just 82 of the 133 that applied for the renewal had been successful.

The remaining 51 “failed or applied to postpone the investigation and some of them withdrew from the industry,” state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

Those that haven't already ceased production will be required to this month, it added.

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