evian.jpgFrench food giant Danone has had a shipment of Evian mineral water seized by Chinese customs officials who found excessive levels of bacteria.

Of course, it is hard not to see this as a retaliatory move by China following the recent outcry in the west about the numerous cases of adulterated food and drugs that have been exported from China.

But Danone says this is not the first time that China has blocked deliveries of Evian water. The bacteria are harmless, Danone maintains, and the problem is due to conflicting local and international health regulations on the permissible quantities. The French company says it used to encounter the same issue in the US before it adopted the WHO's food safety standards.

To complicate the matter further, Danone has been involved in a long-running dispute with its local JV partner, Wahaha, which it accuses of undermining their alliance — see this EngagingChina story. The French company says this dispute is unconnected with its current problems with customs officials.

More on Danone's water worries in this Financial Times story.


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