Dairy group certified for exports to China

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Latvia’s dairy conglomerate Food Union  - which includes milk processing plants "Rīgas piena kombināts" and "Valmieras piens",  has received the necessary food-safety control certificates from China and will soon be ready to launch exports there, company representatives announced Monday.

As soon as the state Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) has received the confirmation notice from the Chinese authorities, the cooperation and trade agreement agreed in principle between the firm and its partners there can go into effect.

“We are on the brink of sending our first ice-cream shipments to China. Our homework getting ready for trade with China is done. Now we wait with impatience that both states’ authorities finish with the final formalities,” said Rīga dairy plant’s board chairman Normunds Staņēvičs.

He added that the new export lines to China would require extra fresh milk supplies, beginning now at about 50 tonnes per day, possibly growing to a demand for 400 tonnes per day. “That’s twice the amount we’re purchasing right now,” Staņēvičs said.

Food Union representatives listed ice-cream, pasteurized milk and creams, butter, cottage and spreadable cheese, and industrial products like milk powders as among the products that are hoped to reach consumers in China. Some of the brands slated for marketing development are the ice-cream products Ekselence, Pols and Nu Fruit, as well as fresh and processed cheeses under the tradename Rasa.

In January the Chinese certification and inspection group visited the Food Union milk plants to evaluate its compliance with their standards.

Food Union is a combined firm made up of the Rigas piena kombināts, Valmieras piens and Premia Foods, majority-owned by Russian investor Andrey Beshmelnyitsky’s group. Its unaudited turnover for 2014 was €125 million.

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