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.
Beijing fined foreign firms for exploiting distrust of local brands, but despite some improvements, parents outside China often get better deals
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The dairy industry is probably the sickest industry in China. Its products are sick. Its managers cheat. The indigenous dairy industry has witnessed one scandal after another, from melamine milk to leather milk and other chemical formulations that are beyond people's imagination. The dairy industry is so sick that consumers in China have totally abandoned indigenous brands, opting for imports instead.
New Zealand is finding that its greatest strength is also its Achilles' heel.
“All the stocks have been contained, everything is out of the market. It’s in warehouses and there is little or no more risk for consumers,” Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings told reporters.
Hong Kong's health minister has ordered tests for bacteria to be widened from milk formula to dairy products, as a partial recall of another brand began amid a contamination scare surrounding a New Zealand producer.
A botulism scare has soured China’s taste for New Zealand milk powder that amassed big sales on a reputation for purity, but consumers even more wary of their own country’s dairy industry likely won’t eschew the foreign product for long.
Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce said officials had been sent to Fonterra premises in New Zealand and Australia to ensure the information the company supplied about a potentially fatal bug in some products used to make baby formula was accurate.
Having confirmed that the out-of-stock product was produced and packaged in the US, the IT engineer and father asks a saleswoman to call him when the product is restocked.
Beijing has halted all milk powder imports from New Zealand after several major drinks and baby formula companies were found to have used products contaminated with bacteria that could cause botulism.
Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy exporter, said three batches of its whey protein had been contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, which affects the muscles and in serious cases can cause respiratory failure.
Hong Kong and Macau recalled a brand of baby formula yesterday amid growing concern over botulism-causing bacteria in products made by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra.