Threat to NZ milk products?

Threat to NZ milk products?

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings
Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has acknowledged the announcement by the New Zealand Police and the Government about an investigation into a criminal threat, relating to the Government’s use of 1080 poison as pest control to protect the country’s native flora and fauna. The Government said that there was no health risk to consumers and it has assessed the likelihood of the threat being carried out as ‘extremely low’.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the criminal threat targeted New Zealand and the entire dairy industry. “We can fully assure our customers and consumers that all of our milk and products are safe and of high quality, and our supply chain continues to be secure and world-class. We are playing our part in helping the Government manage the criminal threat, as is the rest of the dairy industry. We have taken immediate and decisive steps to give our customers and consumers added confidence – including increased testing and security measures,” he said.

  • Fonterra has worked with the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to establish a validated testing regime that is being used by the dairy industry for both raw milk and dairy products targeted by the threat, he said.
  • In mid-January, Fonterra began its own testing regime to provide its customers with further assurances as to the safety of its products. Fonterra is testing all raw milk that it processes – testing every tanker.
  • Fonterra is testing all paediatric products and nutritional base powders that it manufactures as well as all paediatric products and nutritional base powders manufactured after 1 September 2014.
  • The testing methods that Fonterra uses are validated and have been approved by the MPI. The laboratories undertaking the testing are accredited to ISO 17025 and are MPI recognised dairy laboratories.

Mothers in New Zealand and around the world can be assured that infant formula sourced in New Zealand is among the safest available anywhere, says the Infant Nutrition Council (INC).

Chief Executive Jan Carey deplored the anonymous threats made to Fonterra and Federated Farmers. She says infant formula manufacturers and exporters in New Zealand have full confidence in the safety of their products and in the security of their manufacturing processes.

“These products made in New Zealand are safe and always have been safe. We are absolutely confident about the safety of infant formula manufacturing in New Zealand and the products sold in supermarkets. Infant formula manufacturing here is safer now than it has ever been. Manufacturers are fully aware that they are dealing with a very sensitive product so they have added their own testing regimes on top of world best practice to deliver what is regarded as the most stringent testing processes anywhere in the world.”

She adds: “They also have security measures designed to keep their products secure and safe through the supply chain. This includes external security, internal locked-down areas, and vetting of personnel who work with the product. Mothers can also be assured that New Zealand infant formula manufacturers use tamper-evident packaging to enable broken seals or packaging to be easily spotted. Mothers are urged to double-check all such seals and packaging before purchasing infant formula and to report any suspicions immediately to the supermarket.”

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