Chinese authorities have discovered that seven batches of goat’s milk from three different companies do not meet national food safety standards, reigniting concerns over food safety in the mainland.

The food safety test, which was carried out by the China Food and Drug Administration, showed that the milk samples examined carried excessive amounts of nitrate or selenium.

Press release by China Food and Drug Administration
Press release by China Food and Drug Administration.

The companies involved in this latest food scandal are Shaanxi Feihe Guanshan Diary Company Limited, Xi’an Feihe Guanshan Diary Company Limited, and Shaanxi Shengtang Qunlong Diary Company Limited.

One sample produced by Shaanxi Feihe Guanshan Diary Company Limited contained an amount of nitrate that was ten times the national safety standard.

In a 23 June statement, the CFDA demanded that the companies immediately cease production of the milk products tested and recall those already sold.

The statement added that the nitrate does not seriously affect humans but, if it turns into nitrite under the influence of bacteria, it may harm consumers.

China destroying problematic milk
China destroying problematic milk following 2008 milk scandal. Photo:

In 2008, the country was rocked by a major scandal after baby milk formula was found to be contaminated with melamine. Several of the biggest Chinese milk brands, including Sanlu, Yili and Mengniu, were all affected by the scandal.

The chemical, which can cause urinary tract stones in children, was added to diluted milk to boost the protein content and fool safety testers. The contaminated milk killed six infants and 300,000 babies nationwide were affected.

Despite efforts to step up regulation, such as the CFDA’s establishment in 2013, China continued to be plagued by a stream of food scandals every year. In 2014, the safety of Chinese food was brought into question by the widespread use of gutter oil and the selling of expired meat products from Shanghai Husi Food Company.

Eric is currently a Bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. Eric has his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong events and politics. His work has been published on The Guardian, Reuters and ABC News (America).