Vinamilk hit by not-so-fresh milk accusations

December 05, 2019 | 21:50
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Vinamilk has recently been accused of vague ingredients composition in producing so-call “fresh milk”, causing the country's leading diary group entangled in a devastating rumour on social networks.
vinamilk hit by not so fresh milk accusations
Vinamilk was accused of breaking its fresh milk promise on social media

Earlier this month, a Facebook account posted a status with pictures it claimed were customs data of Vinamilk’s raw materials imports, most of which is skimmed milk powder. The account also assumed that Vinamilk uses these ingredients to produce “fresh milk”, questioning the quality of Vinamilk's fresh milk and pointing out that the “Shake well before use” instruction has been a permanent fixture on the milk bottles.

Another Facebook user claimed that Vinamilk's "pure fresh milk" is actually reconstituted milk which consists of about 20 per cent of fresh milk, while the remainder is milk powder, butter, and additives. These added ingredients are not soluble in fresh milk, therefore, after a certain time they will be precipitated. That is why consumers must "shake well before use". The user also mentioned other fresh milk products from different brands on the market that do not require to be shaken before pouring a glass.

The rumour caused a storm on social media and spread like wildfire. Consumers also left unflattering comments about the Vietnamese dairy giant, with most accusing it of deceiving consumers by advertising liquid milk (reconstituted milk) as pasteurised, UHT fresh milk. The users even said that they will boycott the products of the company.

On Vinamilk's side, the company has also quickly confirmed its quality-ensured raw materials with clear origins. Accordingly, Vinamilk prides itself as a top dairy producer in Vietnam by both production volume and value with an aggressive expansion plan, leading the liquid milk, yoghurt, and condensed milk, nutrition powder, and cheese markets.

The company also exports dairy products to many countries and territories and its baby formulas are one of the most-exported products. In addition to domestic raw materials, Vinamilk also imported all raw materials and ingredients of its powdered milk from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, and Japan.

Regarding fresh milk materials, Vinamilk claims to have been promoting the development and improvement of raw fresh milk supplies. The company owns 12 dairy farms, co-operates and signed direct contracts with nearly 6,000 dairy farmers, and manages nearly 130,000 cows with an average raw milk output of 950-1,000 tonnes a day.

"Vinamilk's fresh milk products are produced purely from raw fresh milk, ensuring compliance with the provisions of Circular No.29/2017/TT-BNNPTNT dated December 29, 2017 on the national technical regulations for raw milk, promulgated by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,” stated Vinamilk’s managing director Phan Minh Tien.

However, many people also cited statistics from the Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which prove that the total domestic raw milk supply is less than 200,000 tonnes per year, satisfying only some 22 per cent of the domestic demand.

Meanwhile, 150,000 of this 200,000 tonnes are sent to processing plants. Therefore, Vinamilk's claims of 950-1,000 tonnes of daily raw milk output with some 130,000 cows and 6,000 farmers seem a little over the top. The firm has yet to give an explanation about why consumers are instructed to "shake well" before using Vinamilk fresh milk products.

By Thanh Mai

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