Beijing licenses 61% of Chinese infant formula makers

Beijing licenses 61% of Chinese infant formula makers

Almost four in ten of China's domestic infant formula manufacturers have failed to renew their production licenses, Beijing revealed on Friday (30 May).

According to the State Food and Drug Administration, 39% of the country's 133 infant formula makers "did not pass the review", applied for an extension or cancellation of business. The government issued just 82 licenses to manufacture infant formula under the agency's 2013 infant formula milk powder production license examination rules.

Since the 2008 melamine contamination scare, which saw six babies die and thousands fall ill after consuming tainted formula, the sector has seen a number of further scandals that have undermined confidence in domestic products.

With demand for internationally produced infant formula surging, the Chinese government embarked on a policy to tighten regulation of the industry last year - a task it believes will be aided through a process of sector consolidation.

As part of this drive, the Administration was tasked with issuing licences to manufacture infant formula.

Since last year, the agency has analysed 2698 samples, covering 86 companies in 22 provinces, the regulator stressed.

Moving forward, the food safety authority said it would step-up its supervision efforts. "The Administration will further strengthen the daily supervision, increase supervision and sampling and risk monitoring efforts," the food safety authority said in a statement.