NZ dismisses Sri Lanka Fonterra milk scare

2013-08-12 07:47
A Sri Lankan vendor sells New Zealand-made milk products in Colombo. (File, AFP)

A Sri Lankan vendor sells New Zealand-made milk products in Colombo. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Wellington - New Zealand on Monday rejected allegations from Sri Lanka that its dairy products were contaminated with a farm chemical, accusing industry rivals of exploiting fears stirred by a recent botulism scare.

Sri Lanka's health ministry has recalled two batches of milk powder made by Auckland-based dairy giant Fonterra, saying it was concerned the product contained the chemical dicyandiamide.

The recall is unrelated to the global safety recall announced by Fonterra earlier this month after tests turned up a type of bacteria that could cause potentially-fatal botulism.

However, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said the botulism scare had provided ammunition to Fonterra's "enemies" in Sri Lanka, where it is the market leader.

"There are certain dairy companies [in Sri Lanka] that have campaigned for years against New Zealand," he told Radio New Zealand.

"I've been saying in the context of recent events [that] we do have enemies around the world and they have different faces. They'll take advantage of an opportunity like this, we can't be naive."

Dicyandiamide, or DCD, is added to pastures to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by dairy herds.

25% of exports

New Zealand officials insist it is harmless, but say Fonterra's farmers stopped using it earlier this year anyway.

"So all the milk going into Sri Lanka, by definition, cannot possibly include DCD," Groser said.

Sri Lanka's courts have stopped Fonterra from advertising its products until 21 August, when test reports from foreign laboratories are expected to show if the initial findings were accurate.

Meanwhile, Fonterra announced it had appointed former Air New Zealand and Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief Ralph Norris to head an independent inquiry into the botulism crisis.

While no infants fell ill after consuming tainted product, the scandal hurt Fonterra's brand in the massive China baby formula market and dented New Zealand's "100 percent pure" image.

Fonterra has faced criticism in the wake of the contamination, which has been blamed on a dirty pipe in a North Island processing plant, for allegedly releasing information too slowly to customers.

"It is critical that we identify these lessons quickly so our farmers, governments, customers, consumers and unit holders can again have full confidence in Fonterra and its products," chairperson John Wilson said.

The dairy industry accounts for 25% of New Zealand's exports, and the government has already indicated it will conduct its own inquiry into how Fonterra handled the crisis.

Read more on:    new zealand

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.