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Milk products must not exploit price loopholes

Update: March, 30/2013 - 09:10
Customers choose milk formula products at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Supermarket in HCM City. The price management agency is calling for a standard approach in price stabilisation policy for all milk-related products. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Finance's Price Management Department called for an end to the practice of changing the name of milk products for price hike by many milk trading and distribution companies.

They have reportedly taken advantage of a legal loophole to increase milk prices by labelling "supplementary nutrients" for "milk powder for children under 6 months of age".

Milk product labels are currently licensed by the Ministry of Health, so the price management authority could not intervene because nutrient products were not in the list of price stabilisation products managed by the finance ministry, according to the department.

While a new price management law came into effect at the beginning of 2013, instructions for implementing the law have not yet been issued.

The renaming caused difficulties for state management units as well as misunderstandings for milk buyers, according to the department's deputy director Nguyen Anh Tuan.

Tuan told Hai Quan (Customs) Newspaper that the department had asked provincial finance departments to inspect milk prices and tighten management of milk trading.

The department also asked the health ministry's Food Administration to provide a list of products licensed as milk, formula or nutritional supplements, according to Tuan.

According to chairman of the Ha Noi Supermarket Association Vu Vinh Phu, it was very difficult to ask up to 200 milk importing companies to publicise their milk prices.

Phu suggested that the Government instead direct state-owned enterprises to specialise in distributing milk, saying this would better protect consumers' rights.

Companies have increased milk prices by 5-10 per cent since the beginning of 2013. — VNS

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