News / Asia

New Zealand Company's Contaminated Milk Scare Hits China Hard

Fonterra - Powdered Milk China
Fonterra - Powdered Milk China
TEXT SIZE - +
Ron Corben
— New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra is apologizing after milk powder used in products exported to China and other countries in Asia was found to contain bacteria that could cause botulism.

The head of the milk powder exporter, chief executive Theo Spierings made the apology Monday after China suspended imports of its products after the possible contamination was revealed.

Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, found bacteria in some of its products that may lead to botulism, a serious paralytic illness that can be fatal. The company has issued a recall across Asia.

Almost 90 percent of China's $1.9 billion in milk powder imports came from New Zealand in 2012. Chinese consumers already purchase much of their infant formula from foreign manufacturers because of fears of contamination in domestically produced milk.

Spierings spoke to reporters Monday in Beijing.

"In this situation we apologize, we deeply apologize to the people who have been affected by the issue to guarantee to you that food safety and the safety of the people of the [People's] Republic of China and also around the world is our first and foremost interest," he said.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierlings talks to the media in Beijing, Aug. 5, 2013.Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierlings talks to the media in Beijing, Aug. 5, 2013.
x
Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierlings talks to the media in Beijing, Aug. 5, 2013.
Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierlings talks to the media in Beijing, Aug. 5, 2013.
Spierings also said no products tested and sold in China showed any contamination and the company had not received any reports of health issues or consumer complaints about the tainted batches.

There are no reports so far of anyone falling ill from the contamination.

That did not appease New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who suggested the company should have taken more precautions after discovering bacteria in earlier testing.    
 
The contaminated whey protein concentrate had been exported to several other markets, including Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. The powder was used in products including infant milk powder and sports drinks. Russia has temporarily suspended purchases of all New Zealand dairy products.
 
A World Health Organization senior official, Howard Sobel, said the scare highlights WHO concerns over infant formula and the potential threat of poisoning.

"What we can say is that powder infant formula is not a sterile product," Sobel said. "It's even made to the best of manufacturing at the base line you will find lots of different bacteria in there. Botulism is basically a relatively rare one to find in it but we find that and many other bacteria and other contaminants in formula."

The WHO promotes breast feeding over the use of formula because breast milk provides children with key antibodies and better nutrition. According to the WHO, more than 220,000 children die each year from poor hygiene and food contamination.

The latest health scare comes five years after a Chinese dairy company was found to be adding melamine, a chemical used in plastics, to boost infant formulas. More than six children died from poisoning, and hundreds fell ill.

The scandal led to a sharp increase in demand for foreign-made infant formula, causing shortages in some places.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid