Fonterra milk contamination scare in 2013

( ) Updated: 2014-03-19 15:04:21

Chinese consumers' passion for New Zealand's dairy products suffered a major hiccup in August last year. The loss in confidence followed a recall of tons of dairy powder products sold by New Zealand-based dairy producer Fonterra.

Tests had shown some of the products contained a bacteria that can cause botulism. The contaminated whey products had been sold to third parties that use them to produce infant formula and sports drinks.

Approximately a thousand tons of consumer products were affected by the recall in seven countries. Four Chinese manufacturers; Dumex Baby Food Company, two subsidiaries of beverage manufacturer Wahaha Group, and Shanghai Sugar, Tobacco and Alcohol; had used the potentially contaminated products. Coca-Cola’s Chinese subsidiary was also affected. China’s food safety authorities ordered importers to recall any potentially infected products and blocked imports of all milk powder products from New Zealand.

There were no reported cases of consumers sickened after consuming products that had been recalled. Subsequent testing in New Zealand later found that Fonterra’s products did not contain the botulism-causing bacteria. China imports 1.9 billion dollars worth of dairy products of all types every year, 90 percent of which originates in New Zealand.

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