Fonterra recalls cream over E. Coli fears in new food-safety scare

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 11:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 11:05pm

New Zealand's Fonterra is recalling products distributed in the country that have been contaminated with the E coli bacteria.

It is the second food-safety scare faced by the company in less than six months.

The dairy co-operative is recalling 8,700 bottles of fresh cream marketed under its Anchor brand with a "best before date" of January 21, 2014 that were distributed around New Zealand's North Island.

Cream sold under the Pams brand is also included in the recall.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience and concern this recall might cause, but food safety and quality are our top priorities," Fonterra said.

The recall comes after Fonterra, the world's largest dairy processor, in August said that one of its ingredients used in infant milk formula, sports drinks and other products contained a potentially fatal bacteria, triggering recalls in Asian countries including China.

Further testing showed the initial finding was a false alarm.

Fonterra said that regular testing at its Takanini site in Auckland had shown that the cream manufactured last Monday had high levels of coliform, a bacteria found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, along with plants, soil, air and water that can indicate the possible presence of E coli.

Further test results released on Monday confirmed E coli contamination.

"A small amount of the product had gone on to the market, but the rest of the product we immediately put on hold and today we decided to recall the products on the market, based on the further testing" said Peter McClure, managing director of Fonterra Brands NZ.

Fonterra had no reports of illness caused by consuming the affected product.