Home > Sourcing & Quality Control > That’s not a blueberry…

That’s not a blueberry…

December 1st, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mengniu Yoghurt, they certainly use all natural ingredients, I just hope it came from a tree above a blueberry bush…

Mengniu Yoghurt and Friends

My former favourite yoghurt (and friends)

Almost every morning on my way into work, I stop at my local Jingkelong (Chinese Supermarket Chain) to buy a Yoghurt. It’s usually a Blueberry one with real blueberries in because I am a great believer in the health benefits of Blueberries. I also am careful about which brand of Yogurt I buy since the melamine scandal and various food safety and quality scares. Now I know this is scandal was mainly related to powdered milk but after reading, one cannot be too careful with any processed food they buy.

So to make myself feel safer and more at ease with my purchase, I buy Mengniu brand which has taken the moral high ground during the melamine crisis and done very well out of it. However, this morning after taking several scoops of this tasty yoghurt I felt something slightly harder than the normal soft, skinned blueberries (shame, because the skin is the healthiest part!).

To my relief it wasn’t any insect or part of an animal but a small pine cone from a tree commonly found in China. Now of course you or I don’t expect to find this in our food but what does it mean for their quality or the size of particles they allow to go in their yoghurt? I am happy that it was something natural and not artificial or (part of) something else! Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking what else might have made its way into this mix.

yoghurt, blueberry and not blueberry

(left-right) A Blueberry, Not a Blueberry

I do believe that China is actively trying to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of food safety standards, unfortunately I am fussy enough with my eating habits to have been completely put off. Sorry Mengniu, it was nice while it lasted however it’s been ruined and I won’t be buying your brand again. The psychological effect of finding another crunchy bit in your yoghurt has put me off.

It could have been worse, much worse. How would this experience affect you? Would you continue to purchase a product after finding an ‘alien’ ingredient? Have you had similar experiences? We’d like to hear your comments.

UPDATE: A local friend has passed on this news link to us (sorry, Chinese only) which seems to be the Mengniu boss guaranteeing the quality of Mengniu products for export to Hong Kong and the world, but not making the same promise for their products sold in Mainland China.

  1. December 1st, 2011 at 17:37 | #1

    I was a Mengniu consumer as well until the wife switched us over to Sanyuan recently on the logic that since they are an official supplier for the government, they need to be more careful. That being said, despite Mengniu’s “high ground” all the dairy producers in China are suspect. It’s a massive, under-regulated sector marketing essential food products … in other words a prime breeding ground for less than ethical business practices!

    Mentioned the China milk producers in my talk this morning on reputation management … the comment … “despite the obvious damage to their reputations brought on by the melamine scandal, China dairy companies still enjoy a commanding lead in the market.” Don’t expect much to change until their market share comes under legitimate threat.

    In the meantime, let’s enjoy the fruits of progress and industrialized food production!!

  1. No trackbacks yet.