I-Mei Foods to pay NT$1 over official price per liter for milk from farmers

Leading food company wants to improve quality of Taiwan's dairy sector

I-Mei to pay dairy farmers more for their products. (By Taiwan News)

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – I-Mei Foods Co., Ltd. will pay dairy farmers NT$1 more than the officially determined price for the milk starting January 1, 2018, company CEO Luis Ko announced Friday.

Explaining the move, Ko said that while the government agreed to raise salaries for civil servants, teachers and military personnel by 3 percent next year, dairy farmers received no days off, had to work day and night shifts, and were dependent on prices for their products set by relevant government bodies and on quality subsidies.

Ko said he wanted to raise the quality of domestic milk production, strengthen the environment and hygiene at cattle farms, and promote the installation of systems to handle the excrement from the animals.

The measure was aimed to help dairy farmers improve their work environment and production quality, and thus promote the development of Taiwan’s dairy sector.

The company apologized for its inability to satisfy the public’s demand for fresh dairy products, though it promised it would increase its purchases of milk and raise its supply in 2018.

The high quality of I-Mei milk and dairy products depended on the quality of the feed consumed by the cattle, with monthly tests for food safety, the presence of pesticide residues and radiation levels, the company CEO said.

Beginning in December, the company will test for residues of dioxin, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants), thus creating a complete safeguarding system for dairy products unique in the world.

I-Mei’s Milk Tea recently created a stir as visitors to Taiwanese branches of U.S. retail giant Costco rushed to buy as many cartons of the product as possible within just five minutes of the store’s opening, causing a temporary shortage.