Feb 23, 2013

Vietnam - Hanoi mom unearths ‘French goat milk’ scam

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A number of mothers who have fed their babies an alleged French goat milk product were shocked to see a Hanoi mom discover a number of abnormalities behind the product.

Cao Ngan Ha, a Tay Ho District resident, had already used seven out of 12 cans of Danlait goat milk which she bought from the Manh Cam Co Ltd, based in Thanh Xuan District, when she began to realize something was wrong with the expensive product, which fetches more than VND400,000 (roughly US$20) per 400g can.

Ha posted on the lamchame.com, an online forum for local parents, providing proof that the product is not authentic goat milk, and not even a French product, as advertised.

The post has attracted attention as well as comments from other mothers, who say their kids also lost weight and had their growth slow while using Danlait.

The importer, Manh Cam Co, eventually joined the forum discussion by creating a post full of scanned photos of what it said are necessary papers to prove the product’s validity.

The papers include customs declarations, a receipt of transport, bank invoices, and product quality certificates. But even these contain questionable details for the company.

Suspicious signs

Danlait goat milk is said to be imported in full cans from France, and is manufactured by FIT, “one of the leading goat milk producers in the EU,” according to Manh Cam’s website (manhcam.com.vn).

The company also includes a link to what it claims is FIT’s website, www.danlait.fr, which the mothers at lamchame.com said is a bogus website the Vietnamese firm set up to dupe consumers.

The website’s admin session has a Vietnamese interface and several photos displayed there have a file name in Vietnamese, Ha said.

“How come a ‘leading milk producer in Europe’ uses Vietnamese in their website?” she said.

The interface language and photo file names were immediately changed into French after these details were made public on the forum, Ha added.

Ha also found that the video clip featuring the manufacturing plant and the production procedure of Danlait in France posted on danlait.fr is in fact shared from a Vietnamese account on YouTube.

“The account is named Kenh cua Danlait 2012 (Channel of Danlait 2012”) and Youtube says the video is posted from Vietnam,” she said.

Following intensive research, other mothers discovered that FIT is in fact a small company that cooperates with a small group in France to produce goat milk, rather than a ‘European group’.

Interestingly enough, a lamchame.com member also pointed out a mistake in the paper which Manh Cuong said is provided by FIT to show the specific content of Danlait.

“The paper says the milk contains chlorine, a gas with a strong smell, and often used for killing bacteria in water, while it should be chloride,” the member wrote on the forum, noting that it is a deadly mistake.

“Even though this is just a typo, it proves the company’s negligence. Is it really a leading group in the EU?” another mother commented.

Tax evasion possibility

On Thursday, the Hanoi market management agency seized and sealed more than 6,000 cans of Danlait milk.

Kieu Dinh Canh, deputy head of market management team No.12, said Manh Cam has violated two regulations in trading the product.

Danlait is testified by the Vietnamese Food Authorities as an additional food, while its label in Vietnamese reads “goat milk,” Canh said, adding the company also shows signs of evading taxes.

“The price declared with the customs authorities are only a third of its real rate,” he said.


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