Chinese imports of fresh and processed dairy products from New Zealand and Australia rocketed following the melamine contaminated infant milk formula scandal in China last year, but now officials want to put the brakes on.
Importers will now have to apply for permits from the Chinese commerce ministry from next month in a move to monitor the rising level of imports.
New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra was involved in the contamination issue as part owner of Chinese dairy products producer Sanlu.
Milk powder imports in China grew 156.6 percent to 107,200 tonnes in the first five months of this year as consumer switched to imported brands following the scandal.
The criminal contamination of the milk products reportedly resulted in the deaths of at least six children, according to China’s dairy association.
Melamine, a chemical that can be used to disguise the protein content of milk, was found in many Chinese dairy products last year. Tens of thousands of children became ill as a result.
The Chinese government as said it has tightened regulations aimed at ensuring the quality of dairy products.
From next month, Chinese buyers of dairy products would also have to report their products to the commerce ministry’s chamber of commerce twice a month.
New Zealand exports to China have ramped up since a free trade agreement came into force in October last year. Growing milk power, butter and cheese shipments accounted for a large portion of a 6% increase to New Zealand exports in recent months.