Westland Milk has found tiny traces of DCD in some samples of its products in tests this week.
Westland Milk Products customers are being assured food safety and human health has not been put at risk by the discovery of traces of DCD in some of its own samples this week.
Following advice late last week from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) of the discovery by Fonterra of traces of DCD in some of their milk products, Westland Milk Products commenced its own testing through an independent laboratory. These tests revealed minute trades of DCD in samples produced prior to 1 November 2012. The evidence indicates that product made after 1 November 2012 is free from DCD.
“While we are assured by independent health authorities and the New Zealand Government that DCD is not a food safety risk,” says Westland Chief Executive Rod Quin, “we are very aware that for many of our customers any residue in milk products is undesirable. Some of our customers in Asia have already requested tests for DCD following the MPI announcement last week.”
As a priority, Westland is currently conducting further testing in line with customer and government requirements and will report the results to customers as soon as possible.
“The best way to allay our customers’ fears is with accurate information,” says Rod Quin. “We will continue to work with the New Zealand dairy industry, MPI and Government to reassure suppliers, customers and stakeholders that DCD is not harmful to human health and that every step to remedy this situation and prevent its ongoing occurrence is being taken.”
Mr Quin said only a minority of Westland’s shareholders had used DCD, and that most of the application of the product occurred outside of peak milk production periods.
The use of nitrogen inhibitors, which contain DCD, wouldn’t have been confined to Fonterra suppliers so this isn’t a surprise.
There is no risk to health from the tiny amounts of DCD found in any products and nitrogen inhibitors haven’t been used for months but the company has done the right thing by letting its customers know.
New Zealand’s reputation for safe food relies on high standards, strict compliance and good communication.