NZ milk powder stalled at Bangladesh border
NZ milk powder stalled at Bangladesh border, officials scramble for detail
Aug. 28 (BusinessDesk) – Bangladesh has become the latest country to halt imports of New Zealand milk powder as it conducts tests for excessive levels of nitrates.
The hold-up comes after Sri Lanka last week lifted its ban on the sale of Fonterra Cooperative Group milk products that was imposed after local testing reportedly found dicyandiamide (DCD) in two batches of milk powder.
Reuters reported that customs authorities in Bangladesh halted imports of more than 600 tonnes of milk powder, mainly from Fonterra, pending tests. Bangladesh imported 20,741 tonnes of milk powder in the 12 months ended June 30.
“MPI is aware that there are some delays to New Zealand milk powder at the Bangladesh border,” a spokesman for the Ministry for Primary Industries said in an emailed statement. The ministry “is working with authorities in Bangladesh as well as industry to understand the scale and scope of the delays and to get trade flowing again.”
“As with all matters where there is potential contamination of product, the onus is on the exporting country to provide technical detail so that importing countries can make informed decisions about whether any controls are needed,” he said. “The New Zealand government is providing this information to markets including Bangladesh.”
Fonterra has been working to limit damage to its reputation after disclosing the existence of bacteria in some whey protein concentrate used in infant formula that could cause botulism. Chief executive Theo Spierings flew to China to provide reassurances and four separate reviews are now underway, with one from MPI expected to be released later today.
It also disclosed that dairy products were held up in China in May because of excessive nitrate levels.
The food scares have done little to dent global demand for dairy products. Fonterra this week lifted its farmgate milk price forecast for 2014 to $7.80 per kilogram of milk solids citing strong global prices, the second increase in as many months.
Units in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, which gives outside investors exposure to Fonterra’s earnings stream, rose 0.4 percent to $6.90, and have slipped 2.3 percent this year.