June 11, 2018 / 11:40 PM / 4 months ago

China sets out measures to rejuvenate dairy sector

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will scale up its dairy firms and look to improve overall product quality in a bid to rejuvenate a sector hit by food safety scandals, according to a government plan released on Monday.

Competition in the sector remains weak and efforts needed to be made to boost public confidence and guarantee product safety, the cabinet document published on the official government website said.

Under the proposals, the industry will work to cut costs, improve levels of standardization and boost technology and innovation.

China will aim to ensure that more than 99 percent of products comply with state safety standards, and firms will be forced to recycle at least 75 percent of their waste.

Dairy demand is on the rise in China, but consumers have been increasingly drawn toward imported milk products amid concerns about domestic food safety.

The industry has struggled to recover from a 2008 scandal, when six infants were killed by milk powder that had been deliberately adulterated by the toxic chemical melamine in order to pass protein content tests.

The document said China will also take action to ensure that more than 65 percent of its dairy companies have more than 100 animals each by 2020, and will create a “mechanism” to ensure dairy farmers and dairy firms can share risks and benefits.

Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Richard Pullin

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