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New contamination scare hits NZ dairy industry

19 August 2013 10:08 am - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


A new contamination scare hit New Zealand's multi-billion dollar dairy industry on Monday after it was revealed a milk product with excessive nitrate levels had been exported to China, the AFP reported.

Both New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) and the company at the centre of the latest scare, Westlake Milk, insisted the product called lactoferrin did not pose a safety risk.

But the timing could not be worse for the country's dairy industry -- which generates a quarter of New Zealand's exports -- as it struggles to recover from a botulism contamination crisis earlier this month.

Westland said two batches of lactoferrin totalling 390kg (860 pounds) were exported to China despite showing nitrate levels of 610 and 2,198 parts per million -- well above the New Zealand standard of 150 parts per million.

Chief executive Rod Quin said it appeared the contamination was an isolated incident caused when cleaning products were not properly flushed from a South Island processing plant before a new run of product was sent through.

"We immediately initiated a process to find and quarantine all of the product and it has been put on hold," he said.

The government said that by the time the product had been through the manufacturing process, nitrate levels would have been so diluted as to be harmless.

"MPI's technical experts have looked closely at this issue and believe any food safety risk to Chinese consumers is negligible because the quantities of lactoferrin used in consumer products was very small," MPI acting director-general Scott Gallacher said.

"The nitrate levels in those products would easily be within acceptable levels."

New Zealand's reputation for producing top-quality dairy products was damaged when Fonterra revealed earlier this month that some whey product used in baby formula was contaminated with a potentially deadly bug that can cause botulism.

The scare, blamed on a dirty pipe at a North Island processing plant, caused product recalls from Saudi Arabia to China.

New Zealand's dairy exports are worth more than NZ$12 billion ($9.7 billion) a year, according to government data, with China its largest market, the AFP said.

  Comments - 24

  • OMG 2 Monday, 19 August 2013 01:32 PM


    lankaputha Monday, 19 August 2013 01:36 PM

    all I can say is, there is a high hand who is working to promote local fresh milks which is a business run by his family. And China influencing SL to do the same what they are doing for NZ to get a better rate, we get nothing but shit from NZ and China.

    Perumal Tuesday, 20 August 2013 05:49 AM

    I have been buying "H" the local product. Now please do not change your brand for I will have to go without it for excessive demand.

    NB Wednesday, 21 August 2013 10:49 AM

    I thought a portion of it was still imported?

    Randy Fernando Tuesday, 20 August 2013 05:50 AM

    No. It is made in Sri Lanka

    Randy Fernando Tuesday, 20 August 2013 05:52 AM

    It's made in sri lanka

    modaya Monday, 19 August 2013 01:43 PM

    oh my friends, this is just the tip of the ice burg. we know that milk is contaminated with poison but do we know how much arsenic on rice we eat? How much formalin & poison on fish and meat? How much insectisids on fruit & vegetables? What they use to strengthen liquor and dilute it and so and so. Just think.

    Tridax Tuesday, 20 August 2013 06:21 AM

    Why is it pesticide level in our vegetables is not investigated by ITI. and its also very funny DCD was tested positive in Sri Lanka but not Thailand lab which conducted an independent test.

    nihal Tuesday, 20 August 2013 06:27 AM

    yes i totally agree you with Modaya rice, fruits and vegetables and fish.. sure things that ITI should test and give use reports immediately.

    Chinta Monday, 19 August 2013 02:40 PM

    Nestle sold here is made in Sri lanka. They also remove some fat and add palm oil

    Chinta Monday, 19 August 2013 02:44 PM

    No one feed Tea to every kid every hour .
    Concentration of any substance in a cup of tea is 1000 times less than in a glass of milk.

    Viktor Monday, 19 August 2013 10:26 AM

    The same pattern - publicity given long after manufacture and export for use in China. Statement that the excess nitrate problem has now been solved. Claim that excess nitrate does not pose a safety risk and in any case it is diluted to such an extent that it would have no bad effect. How predictable !

    Citizen Monday, 19 August 2013 10:43 AM

    Is Nestle also from New Zealand

    atula Monday, 19 August 2013 10:44 AM

    The fact people do not know is people in china dont trust there own brands so Chinese people buy nz products .. the real truth is china gave this company s billions of dollars to make there market stable. . Like the toyota recall. .

    atula Monday, 19 August 2013 10:49 AM

    The only solution to this is to import milk from china...

    Gamaya Monday, 19 August 2013 10:56 AM

    similar campaign we can see in the near future with our great cricketers.

    Evon Monday, 19 August 2013 10:59 AM

    I suppose NewZealand is in thelime light now, therefore every little incident is blown out of propotion .

    Ajithkumar Tuesday, 20 August 2013 07:57 AM

    At least NZ guys inform us about the contamination. Our milk products, we don't even know how much quality they are.. And if there are any contamination, will the public be made aware of..? I still couldn't figure out, which company's chocolate bar the consumer authority staff ate, which had the blade. News was there, but no mention of the company anywhere...? And we still eat chocolates... As said by Modaya,we should start testing the food we eat every day, from rice, to fish to vegetables and fruits...

    Ceylonese Tuesday, 20 August 2013 12:00 AM

    Now Sri China will find Sulphate in NZ milk to support THEM via DM Android App

    OMG Monday, 19 August 2013 11:36 AM

    Watch out, what goes around comes around.

    Imagine the effects if some one decides to put our tea through the same tests our politicians are putting the New Zealand milk through.

    dalu banda Tuesday, 20 August 2013 08:54 AM

    This is an obvious Chinese Made conspiracy and I also agree with Modaya.

    Ryan Monday, 19 August 2013 12:19 PM

    May be little for you, but poison feeding is not little, it is deadly

    rohan Monday, 19 August 2013 12:00 AM

    Dont talk about Tea now... This is not SLFP or Mahinda or UNP.... Think that they feed poison to all of us because of MONEY... via DM Android App

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