THE regulatory minefield Australian companies must navigate to export agricultural goods to China has caught out another dairy company, with global giant Parmalat slapped with a suspension of its fresh milk licence.
Just days after infant milk formula group Bellamy’s had its crucial licence to export milk powder to China suspended without warning, Parmalat has been whacked with a similar suspension by the Chinese authorities for overheating pasteurised milk at its Clarence Gardens site in Adelaide.
This followed a recent audit of its South Australian factory by Chinese regulators. The suspension was broadcast to the industry via the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA) website.
While the higher temperatures meet Australian standards, Parmalat is now scrambling to review its practices in light of the suspension as it works to remove the block on exports of drinking milk to China.
Parmalat Australia chief executive Craig Garvin told The Australian the heat applied to its SADA milk, sourced in South Australia, met Australian and global standards but for some reason had fallen foul of CNCA’s guidelines.
“The issue here is from the processing perspective … you will heat-treat it which is a standard global process,” Mr Garvin said.
“The Chinese regulators have come and done an audit and they’ve decided they have temperature limitations that they are happy with versus the heat we did, so the point of difference is what is the temperature that is OK for them.”