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China Daily Website

Hong Kong looks to lift restrictions on milk powder

Updated: 2013-09-27 10:48

The Hong Kong government is ready to begin pressure tests on the city's supplies of baby formula. The tests will determine whether restrictions on mainland purchases can be lifted in time for the approaching National Day holiday.

The two-can export limit on formula milk could be lifted if measures to be tried next month prove satisfactory.

Gao Yongwen, chief of the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau, says the stress tests will be conducted on overall supply, retail chain replenishment, hotlines sales and pre-orders at sales store.

The local industry association says staff will be dispatched to every supplier and retailer to test if there are sufficient supplies of milk powder.

"Consultant firms in charge of the pressure tests will provide parents with tickets that they can use to buy baby formula in stores. If they are able to purchase a sufficient amount, then it will prove that the supply of milk powder is back to normal. Then the restrictions on mainland purchases will likely be removed." Lau Oi-kwok, chairman of HK General Chamber of Pharmacy said.

Many local milk powder dealers, who have suffered since the ban came into effect several months ago, say they are ready to pass the stress tests.

"I don't think we will face any problems passing the stress test, as we have talked with the milk powder suppliers many times. We have reached a consensus, so there shouldn't be any problems." Local pharmacy owner said.

The purchase ban came after mainland travellers almost emptied Hong Kong's milk powder stock, after a food safety scandal that shook public trust in mainland brands. The restriction, imposed in March, bans travellers from taking more than two cans of milk powder without approval.