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China Will Ensure Baby Milk Safety to Boost Consumer Confidence

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- China will take measures to ensure the safety of baby milk products and help boost consumer confidence in domestic brands, the government said.

The government will draft policies to support mergers and acquisitions among formula producers and hasten the industry’s modernization, the State Council said in a statement yesterday after a meeting at which Premier Li Keqiang presided.

Food-safety scandals in China ranging from toxic melamine in milk powder that killed six babies, to kitchen waste reprocessed into cooking oil and rat meat being sold as mutton have driven consumers to buy products abroad.

Officials will tighten supervision of baby milk and start a campaign to shut down unqualified suppliers and producers, according to the statement. Authorities will also enhance oversight of imported formula, the government said, without elaborating.

The safety of baby milk affects the health of China’s youth and the nation’s future, the government said. Quality hazards remain and Chinese consumers’ confidence in domestic brands “still needs to be strengthened,” it said.

China Mengniu Dairy Co., the country’s largest dairy producer, last month agreed to buy 26.9 percent of China Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd. for HK$3.18 billion ($409 million) to gain greater control of milk supplies amid food safety concerns.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Zhang Dingmin in Beijing at dzhang14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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