Botulism milk powder scandal | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 6, 2015
  • Updated: 6:46am

Botulism milk powder scandal

On August 3, 2013, the world's biggest diary exporter Fonterra said a bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism and affects muscles, had contaminated 40 tonnes of its whey protein, most of which was sold to manufacturers to make their own products, including milk powder. A day later, China banned all milk powder imports from New Zealand. Hong Kong recalled 80,000 cans of Cow & Gate baby formula. Other companies that were affected include Shanghai Yanjiu; Dumex Baby Food, a Danone brand; Wahaha Health Food and Wahaha Import & Export; Coca-Cola (China) and Abbott.

Why Chinese parents pay more for infant formula

Why Chinese parents pay more for infant formula

To the delight of parents across the mainland, recent fines imposed by the National Development and Reform Commission on six international suppliers of infant formula appear to have had an immediate impact on retail prices.

Monday, 9 September, 2013, 5:07am 1 comment

As Fonterra incident shows, openness is key to food safety

Fonterra incident shows openness is key to food safety. Photo: Reuters

Reputation is everything in the food business. That is why many New Zealanders are wringing their hands over the botulism scare involving their premier global brand, Fonterra.

4 Sep 2013 - 3:05am

Fonterra and New Zealand applauded for transparency

Fonterra's handling of the botulism incident has earned it and the New Zealand government great admiration on the mainland. Photo: Reuters

The surprising twist that a batch of whey powder exported to China by dairy giant Fonterra's did not contain botulism-causing bacteria after all might have incurred losses for the company in the short term, but its handling of the incident has earned it and the New Zealand government great admiration on the mainland.

1 Sep 2013 - 5:05am

New Zealand seeks answers on milk scare ‘embarrassment’

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser. Photo: Xinhua

New Zealand on Thursday demanded answers on how a false test reading triggered a botulism scare for diary giant Fonterra that led to global product recalls, calling it a costly embarrassment.

29 Aug 2013 - 10:51pm

Botulism scare over Fonterra milk products a false alarm

New tests of Fonterra milk products show no sign of botulism contamination. Photo: AFP

A botulism scare that sparked global recalls of Fonterra milk products was a false alarm and there was never any danger to consumers, New Zealand officials said after new tests.

The crisis led to infant formula being taken off shelves from China to Saudi Arabia earlier this month and damaged New Zealand's "clean, green" reputation in key Asian markets.

29 Aug 2013 - 3:55am

Fonterra products free of botulism, says New Zealand ministry

Customers shop for milk powder at a supermarket in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

A botulism scare that sparked global recalls of Fonterra milk products was a false alarm and there was never any danger to the public, New Zealand officials said on Wednesday.

The crisis led to infant formula being taken off shelves from China to Saudi Arabia earlier this month and damaged New Zealand’s “clean, green” reputation in key Asian markets.

29 Aug 2013 - 1:33am

Fonterra shuts down in Sri Lanka after ‘threats’

Police officers stand guard as local activists protest against alleged contaminated products in front of a Fonterra factory in Colombo. Photo: Xinhua

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra Co-operative said yesterday it had suspended operations in Sri Lanka after the world's largest dairy exporter faced product bans, court cases and angry demonstrators over its supposedly tainted milk products in the country.

24 Aug 2013 - 1:34am

China bans another New Zealand dairy product

Food scandals in China have led consumers to seek out foreign brands, particularly for baby formula. Photo: AFP

Lactoferrin powder, a multifunctional protein produced by New Zealand dairy company Westland Milk, was temporarily banned from import after two patches of the product, totalling 390kg and imported to China by Wondersun Dairy as an ingredient in other products, was found to have elevated levels of nitrates.

20 Aug 2013 - 3:37am 3 comments

Yum feels the heat in China

Yum generates more than half of its overall operating profit in China, where it has roughly 6,000 mostly KFC restaurants. Photo: Bloomberg

The heat seems to be getting to KFC parent Yum Brands on the mainland, after the fast-food chain saw China sales slide in July, with some market watchers saying a lack of focus on cooling drinks and ice cream meant diners looked elsewhere as record hot weather gripped the country.

14 Aug 2013 - 3:40am

Trust in baby formula is elusive

A baby stays in a shopping cart as his mother selects baby milk in a supermarket. Chinese mothers have signalled a continuing preference for foreign brands even after the Fonterra scandal. Photo: AFP

If all things were equal, China's dairy industry could expect to profit from a double strike against foreign brands of baby milk formula. The first was the potentially fatal bacterial contamination of a New Zealand whey product used to make formula.

13 Aug 2013 - 2:52am 1 comment

China online food retailing booms after safety scares

The Shunfeng First Choice website sells imported fruit, such as cherries. Food is becoming one of the fastest-growing segments of internet retailing. Photo: Reuters

Mainland consumers are responding to a powerful new marketing tactic that plays to a widespread fear of food contamination - the promise of safe groceries sold online.

13 Aug 2013 - 4:06am

New Zealand dismisses Sri Lanka Fonterra milk scare

A Sri Lankan woman walks past an advertisement of a Fonterra product in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: AP

New Zealand on Monday rejected allegations from Sri Lanka that its dairy products were contaminated with a farm chemical, accusing industry rivals of exploiting fears stirred by a recent botulism scare.

12 Aug 2013 - 10:32am

Fonterra starts inquiry into tainted products, New Zealand government to follow

A Fonterra plant near Hamilton, New Zealand. A review of how infant formula products became contaminated is expected to take six weeks. Photo: Reuters

New Zealand dairy food giant Fonterra launched an inquiry on Monday into how infant formula products became contaminated with a botulism-causing bacteria, anxious to repair a damaged reputation that has threatened the country’s export trade.

12 Aug 2013 - 9:27am

NZ Prime Minister John Key, top diplomat and trade chief to visit Beijing over dairy scandal

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully. Photo: Xinhua

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully will visit China in about a week as both sides deal with fallout from a contamination scare involving the world's largest dairy exporter, Fonterra Co-operative Group.

12 Aug 2013 - 10:33am

China promotes breast-feeding amid tainted milk scare

Chinese new mother Qi Wenjuan breastfeeds her one-day-old son at Tiantan Hospital’s maternity ward in Beijing, China. Photo: AP

With her one-day-old son propped against her in a hospital bed nursing, Qi Wenjuan says she has no desire to feed her child with infant formula.

9 Aug 2013 - 9:24pm