San Lu in which Fonterra has a 43% stake is facing another problem with news a lethal bacteria has been found in some of its milk powder.
The Gansu Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision in north-western China issued an emergency notice saying that San Lu’s formulas for older babies contained enterobacter sakazakii as well as melamine, the Lanzhou Morning Post reported.
Described as lethal, entero-bacter sakazakii can cause meningitis or severe gut infections and is recognised by the World Health Organisation as one key pathogen that leads to infant mortality.
It is not yet known how or when the bacteria entered the San Lu formula, but there have been no reports of sickness or deaths triggered by the bacteria, the newspaper said.
At least this time there has been a public warning so if any consumers are still using San Lu products they will know of the new danger and that is the first priority.
But the fact that Fonterra says it doesn’t know about it when it has directors on the board suggests that communication within the company is still not up to scratch.