NZ infant formula exports ‘at risk’ from inexperienced companies ‘cashing in’ on China boom

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th June 2013

New Zealand’s infant formula export brand is being put at risk by “inexperienced companies cashing in” on booming demand from China, according the Infant Nutrition Council (INC).

The INC, which comprises the major manufacturers and marketers of infant formula in Australia and New Zealand, said the issues facing the infant formula industry are not about composition, but claims that have been made.

“Recent media reports have highlighted that companies that lack basic supply chain integrity are threatening New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of the highest quality infant formula, and the industry and government agencies must work together to guard that reputation,” said Jan Carey, INC CEO.

“If the Asian boom for infant formula continues, the opportunity for supply from New Zealand will grow, but it must be done properly,” said Ms Carey. “We have to remember we are making food for babies. Infant formula is very delicate and we must make certain that the fears of parents are not exploited for commercial gain,” she said.

Members of the INC include manufacturers such as Abbott, Bayer, HJ Heinz, Nestle, Nutricia, Fonterra, Synlait, New Image, Westland, and Dairy Goat Co-operative.

In February 2013, Australian Food News reported that shortages of infant formula in China were have a global impact, with strong demand for the product in Australia, the US and Europe also being triggered by local buyers on-selling or delivering infant formula products to China.