Nestle fined over milk production

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 April, 1996, 12:00am

Nestle Dairy Farm was yesterday fined $69,000 for making fresh milk and beancurd dessert without a licence.

It pleaded guilty to three summonses issued over its milk factory and a plant for soyabean products and jelly food in Yuen Long industrial estate.

They had been operating between December and February without government approval.

Gerard McCoy, defending, told Fanling Court the company could not stop its 11,000 cows in China producing milk, despite the absence of a licence.

Nor could Nestle, which produces 50 per cent of the fresh milk in the territory, dump food of 'vital importance to children and old people', the court heard.

Mr McCoy said the company had started applying for the licences on March 14 last year. Approval for the milk factory was only granted on February 5 and for the food plant 11 days later.

Halting production at the $650 million plant would also have hit the 600 workers, said the lawyer.

'The case was a technical licensing breach,' said Mr McCoy. 'There was never any issue of hygiene. In fact Nestle has introduced higher standards than those required by the government licensing system.' On December 14, a health inspector found Nestle had begun producing milk products.

Prosecutor To Kai-yu said follow-up inspections revealed the company continued its unlicensed production. Further, unlicensed manufacturing of beancurd dessert and jelly food was also detected.

Magistrate Simon Tam Ka-huen ordered the company to pay $69,000 for the three offences.