Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fonterra recalls batches of milk powder in Sri Lanka - TVNZ

updated 11:50

Published: 9:26AM Sunday August 11, 2013 Source: ONE News

Fonterra, which is already under scrutiny over the botulism scare, says it is "fighting" concerns over milk powder which Sri Lanka fears is tainted with a farm chemical.

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings told TV ONE's Q and A that the dairy giant has recalled two batches of milk powder under Sri Lankan government orders because of allegations it contained traces of the chemical Dicyandiamide, or DCD.

"We're talking about two batches, we're talking about 40 tonnes, so it is in terms of volume not that significant, but at the same time they have also told us that advertising around the brand it not allowed."

He denied the products contain any trace of DCD. DCD is added to pastures to increase agricultural yields.

"We're are definitely fighting it because we have clear certificates 'DCD free' stamped when it was exported and when it was imported  [it was] all clear.

Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal has also imposed a temporary ban on advertising Anchor until further notice, he said.

Mr Spierings said Anchor products have been sold in Sri Lanka for 50 years, and is better known than Coca Cola in the country.

He said if the ban is imposed for a long time it will be a big hit to Fonterra's brand.

"That is why we are fighting it straight away."

Mr Spierings said he wanted to compare the findings of Fonterra with the government's findings.

He feared people were "connecting the dots and there is a lot of subjectivity and anxiety around the situation" following the botulism scare.

The New Zealand Government says DCD is not toxic and that it poses no food safety risk.

However, Sri Lanka's health ministry says it has ordered the recall because it does consider DCD to be a "toxic chemical" and says it shouldn't be in milk, AFP reported.

Sri Lanka is holding New Zealand milk imports at a port in Colombo until an internationally recognised laboratory certifies they are toxin free.

The latest recall comes after the world's biggest dairy exporter recalled some batches of milk formula after extensive testing led to the discovery of a potentially dangerous bacteria in Fonterra whey powder.

Fonterra has been at the centre of an international storm since announcing that a single raw ingredient - a concentrated whey product - could contain bacteria linked to botulism.

The CEO of Fonterra told Q and A that the company's consumers and customers "are not losing faith because we did the right thing" in response to the discovery.

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