Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

NZ dairy products delayed at Chinese ports as tests debated

NZ dairy products face delay at Chinese ports as testing regime debated

By Pattrick Smellie in Beijing

Aug. 26 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand dairy products ranging from milk powder to mozzarella cheese are being held on the wharves at Chinese ports as officials debate what form of additional testing should be applied following Fonterra Cooperative Group’s whey protein scare.

The Ministry of Primary Industries in Wellington confirmed to BusinessDesk late last week that exporters other than Fonterra are experiencing delays.

However, it appears the problem is not a blanket ban or evidence of anything more than the fact that authorities at each Chinese port are interpreting centrally issued orders to apply caution to dairy imports into China with additional caution.

A temporary suspension has already been announced on the import of whey powder, whey protein concentrate and dairy base powder produced by Fonterra and containing WPC as an ingredient. That followed Fonterra's disclosure earlier this month that a batch of the product was found to contain a bacterium, clostridum botulinum, capable of producing the life-threatening disease botulism.

"MPI is aware that some other exporters are experiencing delays at the Chinese border, and MPI continues to work closely with Chinese authorities to provide information as required and resolve any issues," a spokesman said on Friday.

Food processing techniques and the specific conditions required for the bacterium to become active mean human health risk was very low from the contamination and no cases of botulism caused by Fonterra product have been reported in China, Australia or New Zealand, where most of the resulting product recalls were initiated.

However, with food safety the biggest issue for Chinese consumers, whose faith in food sources has been battered by a string of food scares involving their own producers, the issue has come as a blow to Fonterra's reputation, if not so far to sales.

Soundings in China by BusinessDesk suggest demand for Fonterra's ingredients by Chinese food manufacturers and demand in supermarkets for New Zealand-sourced infant milk formula have been unaffected after a sharp, initial reaction when the issue was first revealed.

The planned "soft" launch by Fonterra of new Anchor-branded products into the fast-moving consumer goods market in China has gone ahead, but with emphasis on New Zealand with the company of manufacture removed for now.

A supermarket manager at a branch of the upmarket Ole supermarket chain in Shanghai told reporters accompanying a New Zealand food exporters tour to the site there had been no appreciable drop in sales of brands such as Nutricia Karicare or identifiably New Zealand-branded formula.

The Ministry of Primary Industries is understood to be in talks with Chinese food safety authorities to determine what additional levels of testing should be applied to dairy products crossing Chinese wharves.

Trade officials are at pains to stress the issue reflects the fact that while China issues regulations from Beijing, these are interpreted autonomously by officials operating at each port. While delays to a wider range of New Zealand dairy products may persist for some time, they reflect caution rather than a punitive attitude, despite early Chinese media coverage deeply critical of Fonterra's third Chinese food scare since 2008.

“Border testing is an open and transparent process, and is a standard part of the international food trade," said Fonterra group manager for food safety and quality, Ian Palliser, in a statement last week.

On a previously planned visit to Beijing last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully stopped short of apologising to the Chinese government for the botulism scare, albeit acknowledging it as a cause for "regret."

His visit coincided with the revoking of export certificates for four consignments of lactoferrin produced by Westland Milk, a Fonterra competitor, which was found to have raised levels of a nitrate, which is not a threat to human health unless ingested in very large quantities.

(Pattrick Smellie accompanied a food exporters' tour of southern China, funded by the ANZ Bank, and travelled independently to Beijing.)

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Reserve Bank: Policy Lessons From A Year Of Covid-19

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua was in a sound position to continue to meet its mandate in the face of the COVID-19 induced economic shock. However, we must continue to transform so as to remain relevant and effective in addressing longer-term challenges, Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said... More>>


Transport Industry Association: Feb 2021 New Vehicle Registrations Strongest On Record

Motor Industry Association Chief Executive David Crawford says that the February 2021 figures are the strongest for the month of February ever. Registrations of 12,358 were 8.0% up on February 2020. Year to date the market is up 7.1% (1,735 units) compared to the first two months of 2020... More>>

Paymark: Lockdown Equals Slowdown For Some

The three days of lockdown for Auckland earlier this month made a clear impression on our retail spending figures. While only Auckland moved into Level 3 lockdown, the impact was felt across the country, albeit at different levels. Looking at the ... More>>

Infrastructure Commission: Te Waihanga Releases Report On Water Infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector. Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the ... More>>


OECD: Annual Inflation Picks Up To 1.5% In January 2021 While Euro Area Records Sharp Increase To 0.9%

Annual inflation in the OECD area picked up to 1.5% in January 2021, compared with 1.2% in December 2020. Following a rebound between December and January, the annual decline in energy prices was less pronounced in January (minus 3.9%) than in December... More>>


Hemp Industries Association: Could The Next Team NZ Boat Be Made Entirely Of Hemp?

With The America’s Cup due to start in a few days’ time, innovators from a very different sphere have been wondering how long it could be before New Zealand could be competing in a boat entirely built from hemp, with the crew eating high-energy, nutritious hemp-infused foods and wearing high-performance hemp kit..? More>>


ACT: Matariki Almost A Half Billion Dollar Tax On Business

“Official advice to the Government says an extra public holiday at Matariki could cost almost $450 million,” ACT Leader David Seymour can reveal. “This is a perfect example of the Prime Minister doing what’s popular versus what’s responsible. ... More>>

Genesis: Assessing 6,000 GWh Of Renewable Generation Options For Development By 2025

Genesis is assessing 6,000 GWh of renewable generation options for development after starting a closed RFP process with 11 partners. Those invited to participate offer a range of technologies as Genesis continues to execute its Future-gen strategy to ... More>>