Taiwan's I-Mei cites tests as confirming quality of fresh milk

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Photo courtesy of Taoyuan's Department of Public Health

Photo courtesy of Taoyuan's Department of Public Health (By Central News Agency)

Citing the result of its laboratory tests, Taiwanese food and beverage manufacturer I-Mei Foods Co. on Monday reassured the public about the quality of its fresh milk, after customers at a local retail outlet complained the milk they bought turned sour before the expiration date.

Wholesale club Costco Taiwan on Sunday removed I-Mei brand fresh milk from shelves in its outlets after receiving complaints from several customers that the milk they bought turned sour before the expiration date.

I-Mei said in a statement on Monday that their products are subject to rigorous inspection before being delivered to retail outlets and the company retains samples from each product batch for examination should problems arise.

The result of bacteriological tests on milk samples taken from the batch of milk that allegedly turned sour indicates that food safety standards were met, the company said, adding that copies of the test report have been sent to Costco Taiwan, as the company seeks to have its products returned to shelves at Costco outlets.

However, a date has not yet been agreed, said I-Mei.

Meanwhile, the Health Department in Taoyuan City , where I-Mei manufactures its dairy products, took four milk samples from the I-Mei production plant for testing, with initial results to be released on May 20, said Chang Ching-wei (張敬崴), the official in charge of food examination at the department.

On Sunday, I-Mei President Kao Chih-ming (高志明) explained that its milk is pasteurized using "high-temperature, short-time" (HTST) technology, in which the nutrition of the milk is preserved, but as a result it can turn sour more quickly if not stored at the right temperature.

The company vowed to improve quality control management while urging retailers and consumers to help maintain product quality by storing milk as instructed on the packaging.