Bird's nest scare has not spoilt China's appetite

IPOH - Recent reports of high nitrite content in some bird's nest products from Malaysia have not affected demand for the delicacy in China.

Producers in Malaysia, however, need to practise strict quality control to restore the confidence of consumers in China, said Xu Yu Fei, vice-mayor of Wenzhou city in the republic's southeastern Zhejiang province.

She admitted that consumer confidence in China had been "slightly affected" following the reports.

"Local producers need to redouble their efforts in promoting their products in China and to prove to consumers their products are of a high quality," she said.

Xu was speaking to reporters after a business matching and dialogue session between local businessmen and their counterparts from Wenzhou here yesterday.

She said local producers needed to improve the sales and marketing of their products, adding that consumers in China were now more careful when choosing bird's nests.

Recently, the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry sent a team to China to allay fears over reports of nitrate poisoning from Malaysian-produced bird's nests.

Following the scare, the Health Ministry told owners of bird's nest processing premises to register their business with the ministry by Oct 1 to help it regulate and control product quality.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said food items exported to China would have to be certified by the ministry and the Veterinary Services Department.