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China Daily Website

Fonterra says sorry for 'anxiety'

Updated: 2013-08-06 07:35
By Wang Shanshan and Jiang Xueqing in Beijing, and Zhou Wenting in Shanghai ( China Daily)

However, he said Carrefour had not received notices ordering Wahaha or Coca-Cola products off the shelves, or any recall notices from the suppliers.

"We'll keep in close touch with the municipal quality and market watchdogs and take measures according to their instructions," said Ji.

Fonterra says sorry for 'anxiety'

A woman checks prices beside a shelf of Dumex baby formula at a store in Yichang, in central China's Hubei province. Many shops in Beijing and Shanghai take the product off the shelves. AFP

Wu Aiqin, a sales clerk at an E-mart store in Shanghai's Huangpu district, said relevant batches of Dumex milk powder were removed from the shelves on Monday.

However, Dumex infant formulas were still on sale at a Wal-Mart on Lujiabang Road, where they occupied more than one-third of the available shelf space for infant formulas.

Fonterra says sorry for 'anxiety'

"We have not received any notice to withdraw Dumex products," said the salesclerk, who gave her surname as Zhao. Although the products were produced in May and June, they do not belong to the 12 questionable batches.

Dumex formulas were also on sale at an outlet of Mogobaby, a chain store that specializes in maternity and baby products, located in Shanghai's Songjiang district, according to a sales clerk who only gave her surname as Zhao.

"If customers bought the Dumex products with the batch numbers detailed in the company's statement, they can bring them to our stores for exchange or return them for a full refund," she said.

Many store managers on Taobao, China's leading e-commerce platform, who provide infant formulas purchased overseas, said their business has been affected by the scare.

"The sales volume slumped yesterday and today after the news about Fonterra exploded. On average, I sell 650 tins of Dumex Stage 2 every month. Yesterday I sold just six and today I haven't sold any," said a store manager, who asked to be identified simply as Barbara, on Monday.

Business was also affected at online stores selling Karicare baby formulas, after the Australia-based baby formula maker Nutricia, also a Danone subsidiary, recalled three batches of its Karicare infant formula from the New Zealand market.

Karicare is a leading baby formula producer in New Zealand, boasting 72 percent of the market share in the country, according to its official website.

The products recalled in New Zealand are: Infant Formula Stage 1 (0-6 months) with the batch numbers 3169 and 3170, and Kariare Gold+ Follow On Formula Stage 2 (6-12 months) with the batch number D3183.

China's quarantine authorities said the three batches have not been imported to China through normal trade channels, but warned consumers to check the batch numbers if they have recently brought any of the formula from New Zealand or bought the products through unauthorized channels online.

China's top quality watchdog issued a notice early on Monday morning, advising parents not to feed infants Karicare Stage 1 and 2 products to minimize risks.

"Nearly 100 customers had spoken to me by noontime today. All of them were asking about the safety of our products, and no one bought any," said a store manager on the taobao platform.

"Although I insisted the products in my store don't belong to those problematic batches, and even attached photos of the batch numbers on the bottom of the tins, I can't win the trust of the consumers," she said.

The Shanghai-based online store has an average monthly sales volume of more than 200 tins of Karicare products, but didn't sell a single tin on Sunday or Monday.

Food industry failings

Although, confidence in foreign-branded infant formulas has been shaken, many Chinese are still hesitant about turning to domestic brands.

Fan Hua, an associate in the Beijing office of a US law firm, chose Enfamil, an infant formula brand made by Mead Johnson & Co of the US, for his 9-month-old boy.

"I will pay more attention to the sources and testing results of imported baby formulas before making a purchase, rather than taking it for granted that foreign brands are safe. But the scandal will not affect my decision to buy imported formula milk," he said.

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