• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:30am
NewsHong Kong

Food chief denies any pressure over milk limit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 5:40am

The health minister has denied coming under political pressure to end the newly imposed restrictions on taking infant milk formula across the border.

The latest comments from Secretary for Food and Heath Dr Ko Wing-man came a day after he told a mainland newspaper that the two-tin limit could be lifted overnight in the short term if the market improved.

In an interview with the 21st Century Business Herald published on Friday, Ko said: "The authority will review the market effect on the supply, retail and reservations [of formula milk] regularly.

"If we find that the market has improved in the short term, we do not rule out the possibility of cancelling the restriction with immediate effect."

Yesterday, when asked if he was being leaned on to bring the controversial restrictions to a quick end, he said: "There is no political pressure at all.

"Of course, we have received many opinions and criticisms in the Legislative Council and groups in society … We should review these.

"But there is absolutely no political pressure for us to relax the law before ensuring local parents can buy enough milk formula for their infants."

The government would consider ending the law only after four main criteria were satisfied, he added. Those include making sure "the supply as a whole [is sufficient]".

The new rules came in on March 1 and limit all unlicensed exports of powdered formula for children under 36 months to two cans per traveller.

There was little mention yesterday of the rice-based baby cereals which have caused confusion at the border due to its similarity with infant milk formula. On Friday, Ko apologised to 12 mainlanders arrested by mistake for carrying baby cereal.

Ko did, however, admit there had been insufficient communication with mainlanders regarding the new law, and said the government would in future look at explaining new policies via mainland news outlets.

Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, and executive councillor Cheng Yiu-tong both said they had not heard of the central government putting pressure on Hong Kong over the milk curb. Tam suggested both sides discuss ways of exporting milk to the mainland via formal channels.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive


This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Everyone with sense in the territory will definitely cast doubt on the words of our health minister who openly claimed he had received no pressure at all from any sectors to stop the order to restrict the amount of infant milk powder formula across the border.The fury and frustration of our compatriots (especially those young mothers who have no confidence on home-made milk powder) can be a time bomb to the government since it concerns the precious health of their children (and many just have one child at home).The words uttered by the newly-elected chairman of the CPPCC,Yue Chun-shing that when he was the mayor of Shanghai,many outsiders of Shanghai flocked into his city for better medical services.His meaures was to increase the facilities to cope with the situation instead of curbing the influx---these words were said to our delegates to the CPPCC. It implies the leaders might not be too pleased with our milk powder policy though openly they still had to offer support to the Leung administration. Right ?


SCMP.com Account