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Agriculture

China's hunger for farms and food alarms Australia and New Zealand

Mengniu Dairy's baby formula deal reopens debate over security

Infant formula on a store shelf in Sydney. Many retailers in Australia still limit how much customers can buy.

SYDNEY/DALIAN, China -- Chinese companies are gobbling up food producers and cattle ranches in Australia and New Zealand, sparking a backlash from alarmed locals and prompting governments to block some purchases.

"I am very unhappy about it," a 30-something Sydney resident said of China Mengniu Dairy's acquisition of baby formula maker Bellamy's Australia, announced in September. Chinese mothers buy Australian milk products because they "do not trust Chinese milk products," and for corporate China to own an Australian milk company is "disastrous" for the local industry, she said. 

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