Since the 2008 melamine scandal, confidence in Chinese domestic suppliers of infant formula (奶粉) has understandably been low. Given the general lack of awareness of the downsides of pasteurization, imported infant formula made from pasteurized milk has been all the rage.
And so, yet another booming cottage industry was born – private imports of formula from abroad for resale. Clearly some market players have been feeling the pinch, since the latter half of 2010 has apparently seen an unannounced crackdown at the border. Unexplained delays of 2 months or more – just enough to disrupt business.
Perhaps the failed 2009 attempt by government to require food resellers to obtain a pile of permits before reselling their wares on Taobao was related?