Calls are growing for New Zealand to tighten its standards for infant formula manufacture, as dairy industry players wake up to the potential earnings in the Chinese baby milk market, estimated to be worth US$7 billion (NZ$8.2 billion).
A stoush has erupted in the lucrative infant formula export industry after Chinese media outlets published articles stating the only "genuine" New Zealand-made formula brands were those belonging to members of a newly formed export association.
Leading supermarket chains Tesco and Sainsbury's say they have started advising customers to buy no more than two tins of milk powder in each transaction. The British Retail Consortium said Wednesday other retailers are imposing similar limits to ensure there is enough stock for everyone wanting baby milk.
Ever since melamine, a toxic industrial chemical, got into China's milk supply in 2008 many parents in the world's second-biggest economy have been unwilling to feed their children Chinese-manufactured infant formula brands.