China to set standards for burgeoning colostrum market
the first milk from cows that has a growing following as a health
product among Chinese consumers.
The guidelines are expected to be published by the AQSIQ next year but dairy industry officials say the country has a long way to go before it can meet the high standards required to collect and process the ingredient. Currently most of the colostrum on the market is imported from New Zealand. "China is especially weak in the techniques needed to keep the raw material fresh until it is transferred to the factory," commented an official at the China Dairy Association. Colostrum became popular in China during the outbreak of SARS in 2003. It is considered to be a special boost to health thanks to its high level of immune globulin (IgG), a substance that shores up the immune system of a newborn mammal. While there are doubts about its benefit when consumed by adults, some believe there could be a significant market for the ingredient in infant nutrition products. China's food regulators want to set a standard for a minimum amount of IgG in milk collected as colostrums. It is typically no less than 10 per cent. They will also set strict standards for collecting and processing colostrums. However Chinese producers are unlikely to be able to meet the new standards. "Problems come mainly from the extremely high requirements for collection, storage and processing of the material," the dairy official told AP-Foodtechnology.com. Wang Dingmian, deputy chairman of the Guangdong Dairy Industry Association, added that very few people really understand what colostrum is. "Their knowledge is mainly from advertisements that are exaggerating and misleading," he said, adding that "there are more than 100 brands of different kinds of colostrum products available on the market now but their quality varies dramatically." "It would be better to spend a little more time on improving facilities and techniques before developing these standards and this would also ensure that the industry will benefit," added Wang. Currently most of the benefit has been reaped by New Zealand-based Healtheries, credited with introducing colostrum to China and still owner of 80 per cent of the market.