Nine arrested in China over fake milk powder - state media
Authorities in China have made nine arrests in a new baby formula scandal, according to the government news website China Daily.

There were an estimated 17,000 cans of counterfeit infant formula involved and authorities are still searching for thousands of them.

The Chinese commission has said three vendors destroyed 3,300 cans, police confiscated 5,000 and one vendor sold 3,600 cans.

The suspects are accused of making nearly 2m yuan, which is the equivalent to €270,000.

Six of the suspects are being questioned and have been referred for prosecution, while another suspect is still at large.

“It’s a criminal case where cheap baby formulas were illegally repackaged and sold as high-priced brand name products for profit margins,” Teng Jiacai, deputy head of China’s food safety commission, told state media. He added that the selling of the counterfeit milk powder was a “violation of intellectual property rights”.

Although the products were found to be within the national safety standards, Teng said the agency would now strengthen regulation in the industry.

Irish suppliers

The fake cans were sold under forged brands for Beingmate and Similac, which belongs to Abbott.

Several Irish co-ops supply Abbott, while Kerry has links with Beingmate. Ireland alone supplies 10% of the world’s infant formula.

A previous scandal rocked the Chinese dairy sector in 2008, when rogue manufacturers added poisonous melamine to infant formula to cheat on its protein content.

In 2013, rumours of botulism contamination in infant formula imported into China were proven wrong and are now at the centre of a legal dispute between Danone and Fonterra.

In recent years, China’s most affluent consumers have turned to branded imported products in search of food safety, and the governement has stepped in to impose strict controls on the industry.

Read more

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The farmer's daily wrap: ATM thefts, BPS and silage 2019
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Saturday 20 April.

Weather forecast

Saturday is forecast to be a warm and dry day, with sunshine developing after clearance of mist and fog.

Met Éireann has said that it will stay cloudy in Connacht and west and north Ulster, with some light rain or drizzle there along the coast.

Afternoon temperatures will range between 15°C and 16°C in the northwest to between 17°C and 22°C elsewhere.

In the news

  • A tractor, low-loader and digger were used in the early hours of Friday to rob two ATMs in Kells, Co Meath.
  • Vigilante animal activists could face up to 12 months in prison for sharing personal information which allows them to target and trespass on farms, if the current Australian government is re-elected.
  • Over 55,000 farmers have applied to date to the Over 55,000 BPS applications made to date" target="_blank">2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
  • Representatives from FBD have blamed the cost of high insurance premiums ‘Cost of insurance is too high’ – FBD" target="_blank">on people who are too willing to make insurance claims and the Irish legal system, which is too generous with pay-outs.
  • The annual silage harvest at Dublin Airport began on Thursday.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • The connection between passport applications and BPS applications.
    Fire-fighters battling huge gorse fire in Donegal
    Two houses have already been taken by the blaze, which is raging in the Annagry area of the county.

    Fire-fighters and locals in the Annagry area of Donegal are fighting a gorse fire which has destroyed two homes in the area.

    The Donegal Daily reports that eight units of Donegal fire brigade are battling the blaze.

    It also reports that locals are fighting the fire.

    The Malin Coast Guard is helping to assess the area currently being covered by the fire.

    One Twitter user tweeted an image of smoke from the fire earlier today.

    The fire comes following a a condition orange fire warning, which called on forest owners, farmers and rural dwellers to be vigilant over the bank holiday weekend for fires.

    There is a high risk of fires this weekend as a result of easterly high pressure conditions and forecast high temperatures.

    These conditions mean that a high fire risk exists in all areas where hazardous fuels such as gorse, heather, dried grasses and other dead vegetation exist.

    Read more

    Farmers asked to be vigilant for forest fires

    Gorse fire an 'intimidating sight'

    In pictures: 2019 silage season takes off at Dublin Airport
    The annual silage harvest at the country’s busiest airport began on Thursday.

    Tractors and mowers were called into action to kick off the 2019 silage season at Dublin Airport on Thursday.

    Over 200ac of silage will be made at the country’s largest airport over the next two days, according to Ciarán Hoey, one of the tractor drivers on the job.

    A team of seven drivers was operating the fleet of butterfly mowers, a harvester, six trailers and Massey Ferguson tractors to make silage in the short time window.

    “With security being very strict, it will be a highly co-ordinated harvest,” explained Hoey.

    The grass will be drawn a short distance to a nearby farmer for pit silage.

    Read more

    Watch: Silage 2017 kicks off in Dublin Airport

    Easter weekend: hazy with highs of 23°C in parts