China’s second-largest online shopping platform Pinduoduo has launched a mini program on its app that will allow consumers to verify the authenticity of their baby formula products.
The latest anti-counterfeiting effort is a collaboration with dozens of domestic and foreign infant formula manufacturers including Junlebao Dairy, Yili Group, Beingmate, Wyeth, Mead Johnson, Friso and Abbott, the e-commerce platform announced Thursday.
After receiving the milk formula in the mail, parents can scan the QR code on the packaging to retrieve information such as the product’s manufacturing process as well as logistics and supply chain details.
“This will leave little room for counterfeiters to switch with fakes along the distribution chain,” Pinduoduo said.
Consumers can also mail in the products for further examination if the results of the photo inspection are inconclusive, it added.
Last week, the company reported an increase in revenues and active users in its Q3 financial results, with the number of average monthly active users reaching more than 643 million.
“With the click of a button, the traceability function allows consumers to view product information such as the date of manufacture, origin and specifications of the milk formula,” said Lu Yuan, head of Pinduoduo’s maternal and infant department.
“We hope our customers can shop with confidence with us. We expect to cooperate with more baby formula manufacturers in the future,” he added.
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Earlier in September, Pinduoduo launched its “Mother and Baby Product Traceability” campaign, where net users are able to watch live broadcasts of the factories of brands including Goo.n, Beaba, Huggies and GoodBaby.
Counterfeiting is a widespread problem in China, especially when it comes to infant formula. The country is regularly hit by quality-control scandals, fuelling parents’ fear over the safety of baby products and anger at regulatory lapses.
In 2008, six infants died and 300,000 babies fell ill after drinking milk powder tainted with melamin, a chemical compound used in plastic and fertilizer production. The chemical was used to increase the nitrogen content of diluted milk, giving it the appearance of higher protein content in order to pass quality control testing.
In May this year, at least five children reportedly developed eczema and swollen heads after being fed Bei An Min, a protein drink sold as suitable for babies in Chenzhou, Hunan Province.
Pinduoduo previously said it has a blacklist to permanently block companies found selling fake products on the platform. In 2017, Pinduoduo removed more than 10.7 million problematic products and blocked 40 million links related to infringing products on their site.