Beijing is stepping up regulation of dairy producers - infant formula makers will be subject to new licensing and substandard producers shut down, the state product quality agency said. Zhi Shuping, director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, told a national quality supervision meeting in Beijing yesterday the move would give the mainland's dairy industry a boost by improving its quality, Xinhua reported. 'This year, food safety inspection will intensify and focus on the dairy industry,' Zhi said. Small dairy producers that cannot ensure their products' quality would be shut down, he said. The mainland's dairy industry has been battered by a series of milk scandals in recent years, starting with the deaths of at least 13 babies in 2004 after drinking fake formula with low nutritional value. Dairy products from 22 domestic manufacturers were recalled worldwide in 2008 after melamine was found to have been added to raw milk to make it appear richer in protein. More than 300,000 babies were diagnosed with kidney problems and at least six babies died. But last November, dairy products containing melamine resurfaced in Hunan province. Public sparring between Mengniu and Yili, two dairy giants in Inner Mongolia, has also exposed the tactics many mainland companies use to smear one another through gossip and innuendo on the internet, and further damaged the industry's image among consumers. The administration announced new, stricter regulations governing dairy companies in November and ordered all manufacturers to reapply for production licences by the end of last year. Those that fail inspections to be carried out by the end of March will be banned from manufacturing. Baby formula producers must have their own facilities to test for protein levels, additives and melamine and will not be allowed to outsource inspections. Wang Dingmian, a dairy industry analyst, said the new regulations tightened the administration's supervision of the sector. 'Dairy manufacturers will become more competitive because companies must meet a list of detailed standards ensuring healthy industry development,' Wang said. 'A significant number of small companies will probably face closure. 'It's a bit too harsh for small businesses that don't produce baby formula. The policy will lead to a highly concentrated dairy market, which is not beneficial for the industry.'