Issue 31

Experts in Beijing discuss infant food safety

Arla Foods Ingredients takes the lead in bringing innovative milk ingredients to Chinese infant formula

VilladsenChinese experts in paediatric nutrition showed great interest in the documented benefits of innovative ingredients for infant formula at a milk ingredients expert seminar organised by Arla Foods Ingredients in Beijing. Covering all aspects of food safety in relation to infant formula production, the seminar’s objective was to lay the foundations for gaining market approval of the ingredients in China.

Jesper Villadsen, business development manager responsible for Arla Foods Ingredients’ sales to the Chinese infant nutrition market, says the seminar also provided a keen insight into Chinese market trends and regulations. “It was of great value to discuss and gain insight into the issues relating to the approval of our ingredients,” he adds.

Tighter Chinese regulations
Ingredient suppliers in China have come under pressure in recent years following the government’s launch of a national dairy safety system, which has brought tighter regulations. At the same time, consumer demands for quality have increased.

In response, Arla Foods Ingredients launched a project in 2009 to investigate the Chinese government’s approach to the new regulations and the expectations ingredient suppliers must fulfil in order to gain approval for their products. “The project is key to our efforts to ensure the high quality of infant formula products on the Chinese market,” says Villadsen, who leads the project. “Until our ingredients are approved for use, our customers have limited possibilities to make infant formula that more closely resembles human milk.”

Efforts recognised
Since 2009, the paediatric nutrition team has sent many documents for evaluation by China’s experts in the field. These efforts were recognised in 2010 when the Arla Foods Ingredients paediatric nutrition team was invited to participate in a round table meeting on food safety control in the food ingredients industry.

China’s vice minister of health, Chen Xiaohong, and Danish health minister Bertel Haarder also attended the meeting, arranged by the Danish Embassy in Beijing and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark.Villadsen states: “The vice minister of health expressed appreciation for our contribution to the establishment of new standard in China and that we were welcome to continue contributing.”

Knowledge sharing face-to-face 
At the milk ingredients seminar, held in November, the participants included international experts and a number of Arla Foods Ingredients’ customers. “The purpose was to meet the Chinese experts face-to-face, strengthen our relationship and help them with knowledge about the use of our ingredients in infant formula, food safety in the European industry and analysis of key components in dairy ingredients,” says Villadsen. “The event also proved a good opportunity for our customers to exchange knowledge with the participating experts.”

A second milk ingredients expert seminar is planned for next year.

 

Distinguished expert panelThe international experts who gave presentations at the seminar included:

  • Joergen Hald Christensen, food quality director, Danish Agriculture & Food Council
  • Ren Yiping, professor leading the Physical and Chemical Institute, Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Bo Lönnerdal, professor of nutrition, University of California Davis 
  • Sven Høgh Petersen, paediatric nutrition senior manager, Arla Foods Ingredients