NZ Govt assures Chinese consumers NZ dairy products safe; apologizes for confusion over DCD

The New Zealand Government has issued an assurance to all Chinese consumers that  NZ dairy products are safe and apologised for  “confusion” surrounding the suspension of DCD use in fertilisers on NZ farms. The apology was conveyed by New Zealand ambassador Carl Worker at a press conference at the NZ embassy in Beijing late Monday (NZ time).
Ambassador Worker also told the press conference “it was regrettable” that New Zealand did not forewarn the Chinese regulatory authorities that the suspension was to take place. “With hindsight, this was regrettable, as the lack of forewarning has made it easier for some confusion and unnecessary doubt among Chinese consumers of New Zealand dairy products to occur.”
Ambassador Worker said the use of DCD was suspended in New Zealand because very small traces of DCD residue were unexpectedly discovered in New Zealand milk powder in the final months of last year. “DCD itself is not damaging to health and the detection of these small DCD residues poses no food safety risk …I stress that these were very small quantities of DCD residue.” He explained that DCD was suspended because New Zealand’s international dairy customers expect New Zealand products to be residue-free where there is no internationally accepted standard for residues for particular compound and stressed they were well within EU acceptable daily safety levels.
Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has cancelled a trip and is on standby to go to China if needed. Spierings said the company was doing everything it could to help the Chinese authorities. He said that if Fonterra had believed there was any possibility of a food safety issue “we would have disclosed” earlier.
Fonterra’s China head Kelvin Wickham, together with scientists from the NZ dairy giant, had been dispatched to Beijing to help explain why trace residues of DCD discovered during September tests posed no health threat. The company expects Chinese authorities will confirm the NZ products were safe.
In Taiwan authorities have already given a preliminary indication that their tests of NZ milk products had found nothing to be concerned about .
Spierings reiterated Fonterra has been speaking with major investors and market analysts, who have signalled they are comfortable with the approach “we have taken on this issue” and were not concerned that the company had not disclosed the issue in its prospectus for the Shareholders’ Fund IPO.
“The clear message coming back from the markets is that they understand the issue and appreciate that there is no food safety issue here … since last week’s announcements, our focus has been on working alongside the Government to reassure our customers and consumers that our products are safe.”
Meanwhile,  Spiering’s team were seeking further details on a CCTV report which said Shanghai authorities had launched an investigation in three cities into companies known to source dairy product from NZ.

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