OzDairy apologises to China for labelling strife

A labelling error has landed Australian dairy company OzDairy Foods in hot water with its Chinese customers – after Chinese TV claimed it had printed conflicting expiry dates on nearly 20,000 cans of baby formula.

More than 900 tins were intercepted at customs and the remaining cans recalled before being put on sale, but not before the typo attracted the notice of CCTV, which named and shamed the Oz Milko formula to its audience of an estimated potential 1.2 billion Chinese.

oz milko_tinMelbourne-based OzDairy says the mislabelling, which appears to extend the expiry date on the Chinese label by a year – was an innocent print mistake.

The company has apologised to the Chinese government and community, but Christopher Murfett, managing director of OzDairy, told the ABC’s Lateline that the negative publicity had affected the business.

Infant formula remains a hot button amongst Chinese consumers, since a contamination scandal in 2008 led to the deaths of six children and poisoned nearly 300,000 – after products made by a Chinese company were tainted with Melamine.

Australian dairy, particularly milk powder and infant formula, has been capitalising on its reputation for safety and quality control in the Chinese market.

OzDairy Foods says it will provide a detailed report into the labelling error once investigations have been carried out in both China and Australia by government bodies.

The company says it will improve its production process and quality control procedures, and intends to replace the decirculated tins.


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