Fonterra tainted milk scraps luster of New Zealand pureness
Special coverage on tainted milk imports:
Ministry of Primary Industries of New Zealand on August 3 declared that Fonterra, the world's biggest dairy exporter, had been found contaminated whey protein concentrate in their products.
The tainted products affected four importers: two beverage companies of China Wahaha Group, infants and children's nutrition company Dumex, and Shanghai Tangjiu Group, according to the statement released by China’s quality watchdog General Administration of Quality Supervision (AQSIQ) on August 4. Botulism affects baby under 1 year old
Reporter’s investigation has found that Fonterra has been involved in a series of negative news in the past eight months, including the discovery of dicyandiamide (or DCD) in milk powder and anti-trust probe by China's top economic planning agency.
Botulism is a kind of bacteria that grows at room temperature, in a low acid and oxygen-light environment. Botulism also can grow in canned packs and vacuum packs which are not appropriately processed. The serious symptom of botulism is paralysis, nausea and vomiting. If victims cannot be rescued timely, they will be at a high risk of death.
Zhu Yi, associate professor of China Agricultural University said that the problem is the lack of universal standard of botulism for dairy products. Although the bacteria does not influence the health of adults and babies above one-year-old, it is a threat to those who are below one-year-old for onetheir intestinal micro ecology are not mature enough. When spores of botulism enter infants’ body, they can easily breed and release toxin into blood.
There have been cases that infants below one year old were poisoned by the botulism- contaminated food. Infants under half a year old, who are still in a diet-transforming period, are more vulnerable to botulism’ toxin.
Zhu emphasized that contaminated milk can only be sterilized after being heated at a temperature of 120 degrees Celsius for roughly 10 minutes. However, parents usually mix milk powder with warm water, which does not have a bactericidal effect.Fonterra was on “black list” three times in August
It’s noteworthy that before this incident, Fonterra has been involved in several casesincluding the discovery of dicyandiamide in milk powder, anti-trust probe launched by National development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and melamine incident.
In January 2013, DCD residues were found in a fraction of New Zealand milk and milk powder which were related to Fonterra’s products. As early as September 2012, Fonterra found DCD in milk and milk powder.
In addition, Fonterra was involved in the anti-trust investigation by the NDRC not long ago. Although Fonterra’s market share in China is not as high as that of MeadJohnson and Dumex,
it plays an important role in importing raw milk powders and manufacturing products for many other brands. The influence of Fonterra on Chinese milk powders market cannot be ignored.
In fact, in 2010, U.S. Milk Producers Federation (MPF) appealed to International Trade Commission about the anticompetitive behaviors of Fonterra. MPF said that they were fighting against a monopoly magnate which controlled over 90 percent of milk supply in New Zealand.
Here is another story, in 2005, Fonterra invested 860 million yuan to acquire 43 percent of stocks of China’s Sanlu. Sanlucollapsed after a melamine scandal in 2008 and Fonterra’s investment in China suffered a heavy blow.
Food safety problems occur frequently in this year. In April, 8,400 tons of milk powders from New Zealand, Australia, Chile and South Korea didn’t meet national standard, according to AQSIQ.
Zhu pointed out that the Chinese consumers should drop the blind trust to foreign dairy brands and choose safe baby milk in a rational way.
It is sensible for consumers to At the same time, it is necessary for China’s dairy enterprises to regain consumer trust and improve quality to offset the challenge of imported milk powder.