Tuatua Cooperative Dairy Company has suspended exports of lactoferrin while it determines how traces of melamine got in to it.
A Chinese customer told Tatua’s agent two weeks ago that melamine had been detected in its product in China.
Further tests were done in both in China and New Zealand, and results on September 22 and 23 confirmed contamination at less than four parts per million.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), inspected the factory on September 24.
Tatua chief executive Paul McGilvary told NZPA today the company’s own investigation detected no melamine in its raw milk.
The company is now working with the NZ Food Safety Authority on a traceback project to determine where the melamine came from.
The traceback was expected to canvass whether the melamine was introduced to the raw milk, either by farmers using insecticides containing cyromazine, an insecticide which breaks down to melamine in mammals and plants, or feeding dairy cows cheap imported feeds such as palm kernel contaminated with cyromazine or its metabolite, melamine.
This is serious, and Tuatua has done the right thing in suspending exports and working with the NZFSA to find out where the melamine came from.
But the risk at the moment is more in the perception than reality and as I said in a post on this issue on Saturday it’s important to keep it all in perspective.
The poisoned milk scandal has raised awareness of what might be in the food we’re eating which is good, but we need to be careful about causing needless hysteria over “contamination” of food by elements in tiny amounts which won’t cause any harm.
Inquiring Mind rightly points out the need for oversight of all stages of the supply chain as a result of this.
No Minister regards this as seriously serious.