“A factory in Kingston, Ontario given $225 million in taxpayer money is sending all of the baby formula it produces to China while Canadian parents struggle to find it,” True North reports.
The Canada Royal Milk Plant, built in 2019, uses Canadian-based dairy – including cow and goat milk – to make baby formula.
Chinese company Feihe International Inc. owns Canada Royal Milk but has received Canadian government funding to the tune of $225 million.
— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) May 21, 2022
Canadian taxpayer-funded factory sends all its baby formula to China despite domestic shortage. Kingston-based Chinese-owned company, dairy farmers, Feds and Queens' Park not commenting. pic.twitter.com/cPtxk7VYxt
— The Food Professor (@FoodProfessor) May 21, 2022
True North reported:
“Feihe International is the largest domestic producer of formula for infants and young children in the People’s Republic of China, and the company recently celebrated its 56th year in business, the plant’s website states.
“Canada Royal Milk will manufacture formula for infants and young children using both cow dairy and goat dairy, building local supply chains to benefit the Canadian economy. Most of our production will be for export, but we intend to develop nutritional products for the North American market as well.”
An ongoing baby formula shortage here has prompted Health Canada to issue a statement and to ease import rules to increase supply. In particular demand are two types of formulas designed for infants with allergies.
“In certain provinces, the supply of these products is not meeting demand,” Health Canada said. “The Department has published an interim policy to recommend enforcement discretion to facilitate the importation of equivalent and safe infant formulas that have been approved by a foreign regulatory authority or are allowed to be sold in foreign jurisdictions that have high quality and manufacturing standards similar to Canada.”
In addition, baby formulas designed for infants with food allergies in order to avoid anaphylactic shock have reportedly run out of stock.
“My understanding is that all of the production is shipped to China because China had a major baby formula crisis back in 2008,” Dalhousie University food expert Sylvain Charlebois told CTV News.
In a statement, Carey Bidtnes with Canada Royal Milk says the company is working with Health Canada to approve producing infant formula to sell in Canada.
“(Canada Royal Milk) will be able to sell products domestically once the regulatory process is complete and approvals granted,” Bidtnes explains.
However, the company could not give a timeline, saying the pandemic has impacted operations.
“This has delayed timelines for entry into the domestic and North American markets,” writes Bidtnes.
The plant received $225 million in government funding, and uses Ontario and Quebec milk supplies.
It also employs more than 150 people.
Charlebois says it was not required to provide the product to Canada, because it was being built during NAFTA renegotiations.
“They thought the plant would become a threat to the three main manufacturers in the US,” he says. “And that’s why, ironically, even though the plant is 30 kilometres away from the border it cannot ship baby formula to the states and help.”
He says the ability for the plant to create supply here at home is months away.