China probes alleged price fixing of baby formula
BEIJING (AP) - China has launched an investigation into alleged price fixing by some foreign makers of infant formula, including Danone and Nestle SA, the country's top economic planning agency confirmed on Wednesday.
The state-run People's Daily reported on Tuesday that companies also including US-based Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co, as well as Dutch-based FrieslandCampina, are under investigation for allegedly violating anti-monopoly laws by charging high prices and limiting competition.
A spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission, the investigating body, confirmed the report and said the probe was continuing. He refused to give his name, as is common with Chinese officials.
Chinese demand for foreign milk formula has risen in the wake of scandals that have left many parents wary about domestically produced infant formula. In 2004, fake Chinese milk powder caused malnutrition deaths in at least a dozen babies. That was followed by a melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008 that killed at least six babies and sickened nearly 300,000 others.