Only five of New Zealand's 13 infant formula manufacturers
have been approved to export product into China under new
regulations that come into force today.
The new rules follow an audit of local baby milk
manufacturing facilities that took place in March. Infant
formula companies selling product in China must meet strict
new requirements and become registered with the Chinese
Government from today.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has not released the
names of any manufacturers, but the 13 include Fonterra,
Westland Milk Products and Synlait, as well as Auckland-based
exporters New Image, GMP Pharmaceuticals, Sutton Group and
The Government has said the 13 manufacturers are responsible
for around 90 per cent of the roughly $200 million worth of
infant formula New Zealand exports to China annually.
A Fonterra spokesman said the dairy giant was one of the five
companies that had achieved registration.
The ministry's deputy director-general for China Relations,
Roger Smith, told the Herald this week that companies that
were not registered by May 1 (today) would be unable to
export product manufactured after that date.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy said MPI was
working with manufacturers to ensure a new overseas market
access requirement directive, issued last night, was complied
"This sets out the requirements needed to produce infant
formula for export to China from 1 May," Guy said.
Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said China had indicated that
other manufacturers could become registered after 1 May if
they met the requirements verified by MPI.
"There is a team of people at MPI who will be assisting the
remaining manufacturers to be registered as soon as
Kaye said last week that around 50 infant formula companies
that do not operate factories but instead have their products
made by contract manufacturers would find it more difficult
to comply with the new regulations.
Today, she said some brand owners who did not have a "close
relationship"with their manufacturer would struggle to meet
the new rules.
"MPI has been working with industry and Chinese agencies to
give brand owners greater clarity on what closer association
will mean and when this will apply," Kaye said.
- By Christopher Adams of the New Zealand Herald