domingo, 4 de agosto de 2013
Contamination scare worries farmers and formula exporters
Some bovine products may be contaminated with a strain of Clostridium botulinum
Dairy farmers are keeping an anxious watch on developments in the second contamination scare to hit Fonterra and the wider industry this year.
China has blocked imports of New Zealand milk powder and Russia have stopped the import and distribution of Fonterra products after the co-operative announced on Saturday that three batches of a whey protein concentrate used as an ingredient in some products may be contaminated with a strain of Clostridium botulinum, the anaerobic pathogen that can cause botulism.
The contamination occurred at a Fonterra processing plant in May last year but was only picked up in testing in March and not confirmed until last week. In January, Fonterra and other dairy companies had to deal with the fallout from the discovery of DCD, a chemical residue. Some farmers are concerned about the potential implications on Fonterra's financial performance in the coming year and also how Fonterra might be perceived in terms of its reaction to the issue. Infant formula exporters dismayed at contamination scare
The whey protein product at the centre of the contamination alert is not widely used in infant formula products, but is sometimes used as a replacement ingredient. The Infant Formula Exporters Association representing 20 exporters say none of its members uses the protein concentrate in their products. But the chief administrative says they are dismayed because they are caught up in the bans imposed by some markets and the potential damage to New Zealand's reputation. He said the delay in identifying the contamination issue and the brands and products affected is also a concern.
Dairy products such as fresh milk, yoghurt, cheese, spreads and long life milk products are not affected. But the manufacturer of one infant formula brand, Karicare, has recalled two of its products from the New Zealand market.
And Fonterra's animal feed subsidiary, NZAgbiz, which is one of the eight customers that received the affected whey protein concentrate, has announced a product recall of a small amount of calf milk replacer sold in the North Island.