By Horace Lu
A man surnamed Wang living in Qingdao, Shandong Province claims that he has found a worm in a can of Frisolac milk powder imported from Holland.
The dealer promises to return the powder and send him another 400g can free.
However, when Wang asked for higher compensation, the dealer says it is only possible when the worm is proven to be Dutch.
The milk powder was purchased on Oct. 20th and opened on 22th. When Wang was feeding his baby on 24th, he found a white worm moving and more mesh-like substances deeper inside the can.
Can you prove the worm is Dutch?
On 27th, the dealer came to Wang’s house and confirmed that the worm had been living inside the can before it was opened given the amount of the worm’s excrement inside the container.
The next day, however, when Wang telephoned the dealer, the other side promised only a product-return and a smaller can of milk powder for free. When higher compensation was asked, the dealer said, “Our entire production line is in Holland. Can you prove that the worm in the milk powder is Dutch?! If you can prove that to me, I will compensate as you wish!”
In a statement to the media, Frisolac’s China spokesperson says that the brand’s entire production chain is in the Netherlands, executed under strict high temperature sterilization and vacuumization standards, so it is “impossible for any living thing to survive”.
She added that the Holland-based diary brand would be willing to pay for a third-party examination to see whether the worm is Dutch or Chinese species.
“If it is our fault, we will definitely compensate our customers according to the law,” she says.
Friesland Campania, Frisolac’s parent company, tells Radio Netherland Worldwide that it has received the complaint, but says it is just an individual complaint, and that Wang, who sends the complaint, has refused to turn over the product involved while insisting that their products were “unlikely to have a living worm inside”.
The spokesperson in China also says the worm Wang found in his milk powder is very similar to those found in rice and adds that any nutritious foods will breed worms if not well kept.
Milk formula: China’s most coveted white powder?
After the melamine scandal in 2008, in which Sanlu (三鹿), a Chinese milk powder manufacturer put the harmful substance into its products to fake protein content, Chinese consumers started to turn en masse to imported milk powder. It has been reported that foreign brands, which used to serve only high-end consumers, have now captured more than 50% of the Chinese market.
Indeed, as Evan Osnos, the China correspondent of The New Yorker recently noted, one of the must-buy items for Chinese tourists to Macau appears to be baby formula, so much so that the stores have to limit mainlanders to a few cans each when demand spikes to prevent a run on milk powder.
Nevertheless, the foreign brands do not seem to be 100% safe either. Earlier this year, Ausnutria, an Australian milk powder brand, was found to have quality problems. Claims have been made that the brand makes some of its products in China but sells them as “imported”.
In the meantime, Chinese scientists are working overtime to get cows to produce human milk and genetically modified dairy products similar to human milk will be available on the market in as little as two years.
It may be a while yet before Chinese people realise that mother’s milk is best for the baby.