Milk DCD free

Ministry of Primary Industries tests have confirmed no traces of DCD in milk since November.

“MPI and the New Zealand dairy industry have conducted voluntary testing of New Zealand dairy products to build a comprehensive picture of the presence of DCD in New Zealand’s milk supply,” MPI Director General Wayne McNee said.

The tests have found no traces of DCD in milk collected from New Zealand farms after mid November 2012.

“We are releasing the core findings of the testing today to be as open as we can be with our markets and customers, despite the fact that the quantities of DCD found in our dairy products creates absolutely no food safety risk whatsoever,” Mr McNee said.

With the co-operation of the dairy industry, nearly 2000 samples of dairy products have been tested from all the major dairy companies.

Testing has specifically targeted dairy products using milk collected during the New Zealand spring last year from the less than five percent of dairy farmers who used DCD on pastures. Results have been coming in as recently as last week.

As expected, minute traces of DCD have been found in various dairy products already in the supply chain from a variety of companies. However, there remains no food safety risk – all traces have been significantly below the European Commission’s daily intake level for DCD.

“Importantly, tests on products made from milk collected from farms after mid-November show no traces of DCD at all,” Mr McNee said.

“These findings confirm our expectations. We have informed markets of them.”

There never was a food safety issue.

The problem was there was no international standard for DCD but the tiny traces found in some milk products late last year were well below the EU standard.

There was a perception problem but the prices have continued to increase in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade auctions since the announcement traces of DCD were found.

This shows that markets weren’t concerned, in spite of some opposition politicians attempts to manufacture a scandal.

It’s also a vote of confidence in New Zealand’s very high food safety standards and a reminder of why maintaining them is so important.

19 Responses to Milk DCD free

  1. TraceyS says:

    It is scandalous that “… some opposition politicians attempts to manufacture a scandal” in the name of protecting the image of our milk industry, risked damaging the same. Utter ridiculousness that most normal people can see for exactly what it is.


  2. robertguyton says:

    “There was never a food safetyy issue”.

    Straw man.

    Why then, did the fertilizer companies so quickly pull their product and in the process loose millions in revenue?

    No problem?

    Yes there was, and still is.

    The market, Ele. The market.


  3. Viv says:

    Interesting that Ravensdown were still running seminars promoting eco-n as late as mid December. They would have known about their product showing up in milk by then. I hope any farmers who purchased eco-n after attending the seminars were given a full refund.


  4. Mr E says:

    Both Ele and Robert have pointed out a ‘perception problem’.
    I can’t agree Ele, that because prices increased, the news did not affect the market. If no DCD was discovered, would the market have increased at a higher rate?

    I think it was a hype story. And I think the attention probably stimulated recognition of the relative high quality of NZ’s milk. The short term may have been a negative, but I expect the long term to be a positive.


  5. robertguyton says:

    Some councils are still recommending the use of DCD as “best practice” for managing nitrates, despite being challenged over the practice.


  6. homepaddock says:

    I agree Mr E. The price is influenced by several factors, but had the perception of risk been greater than the confidence buyers have in the quality of our milk and high standards of food safety demand would have dropped and so would the price.


  7. Viv says:

    It is not just a perception problem. A recent University of Otago showed DCD had made it’s way into waterways and was affecting the nitrogen cycle in freshwater.


  8. robertguyton says:

    Exactly right, Viv. Research into the effects of DCD on freshwater ecology is underway. Why it wasn’t done before the product was released onto the market is deeply worrying and makes me wonder what else is being used on farms, untested.


  9. TraceyS says:

    According to the MSDS for DCD, this product does not contain any toxic water pollutants. You can’t expect farmers to manage risks that they don’t even know about. If we were to wait for research to prove everything 100% safe, then nothing would ever happen. Unfortunately most farmers do not own crystal balls, unlike some of us here who clearly do. It is an incredibly conservative approach to suggest that farmers avoid use of a chemical which indicates positive environmental effects – just in case some future research in 5, 10 or 20 years might (or might not) yield results indicating some secondary undersireable effect.


  10. Viv says:

    A product that alters nitrogen processing on land turns out to affect nitrogen processing in the streams it ends up in, no suprise there. Is that ok because using the product enables dairy farmers to increase their stocking rates and their profit? Bad luck for the fish in the stream, wonder if it matters for people and stock drinking the water downstream, but no time to test and check for that, just get the product out there.


  11. TraceyS says:

    Read the MSDS Viv. Farmers would have every reason to expect the product to be biodegraded before it causes any downstream effects. If that’s not the case, particularly if the degradation products are found to cause harm, then I guess its use would have to be reconsidered.

    The point is, you cannot know how every development is going to respond in every given environment. Field situations are not homogenous. In one farmer’s paddock it might be fine because of the biological make-up of his soil, and in another’s it might not be. How are we to find these things out if not by some degree of trial and error and exploratory research? Should a blanket ban be issued even though it may be only a small percentage of areas that are a problem? Like I said before, that’s extremely conservative until we know the chances of it being warranted.

    It’s unrealistic to expect farmers to be scientists as well. But unfortunately that seems to be where we are headed. It’s good that further research is being done. If it wasn’t for farmers already using DCD this research would not be as useful. That’s because observations are far more insightful than projections. I hope you will review the results objectively.


  12. Viv says:

    It appears that insufficient observations were made as to whether or not the product would end up in milk before it was released for widespread commercial use, that is not appropriate. What if it had been a chemical that had been harmful? You shouldn’t be able to just use something and wait to see if it is harmful or not. Actually quite a few farmers are trained in science, it’s a big part of what they study at Lincoln and Massey. As to whether DCD is good for the environment, that’s debatable, it might have helped some farmers increase fertiliser use and stocking rates, some of us don’t consider that a nett environmental benefit.


  13. TraceyS says:

    Research scientist I meant Viv. It is unrealistic to expect farmers to have the time (and money) to do research even if they have the educational background.

    What if, what if…….. what if mercury amalgam, fluoride, Bisphenol A, and X-rays are found to be harmful? Oh right, they have been already! Have we stopped using them?

    Get off the backs of farmers Viv, you’re being grossly unfair.


  14. Viv says:

    No, I am not being unfair and I am not picking on farmers. No one has the right to pollute just to make a profit, dentists, farmers,factory owners or miners. There needs to be research into the effects of materials and processes before and throughout their use. Whether it’s the GM bacteria you seem in favour of, a new filling or medicine or DCD, stuff should be properly tested. It ain’t progress if it turns out that someone’s bright idea does more harm than good.


  15. Viv says:

    For clarification, I do not expect individual farmers to be doing the research, it starts with the company developing the product doing their own and commisioning independent research. Eg a fertiliser company that wants to make lots of money selling farmers a product which is designed to enable the company to sell more fertiliser to farmers should pay for the research. You know one way you can reduce nitrogen runoff is by reducing fertiliser use and stocking rates, but apparently suggesting that is close to heresy on this blog.


  16. robertguyton says:

    Viv is correct. Peter Dunne declared and had passed into legislation that no ‘synthetic highs’ could be put on the market until the manufacturer had proven them to be safe. No doubt commenters here agreed with Dunne’s action. The fertilizer companies did not prove their product safe, yet put it out for use. That’s the point being made and it’s sad to see you, Tracey especially, denying the obvious.


  17. TraceyS says:


    “Doubling the N fertiliser rate had a minor effect on N losses from most soils… ”
    From the following study of dicyandiamide effectiveness in reducing nitrogen loss:

    Your (and Robert’s) arguments have face validity, I will agree. But more than that is required to establish a proof. An impassionate way of looking at things? Yes. But not “denial” as you say Robert.

    See why I think farmers need to be research scientists? To defend against simple logic (which could well be wrong). Such a shame! Why do humans generate such waste? Not just physical waste but intellectual as well.


  18. TraceyS says:

    The only obvious thing here, Robert, is the level of certainty that the synthetic cannabis product causes harm. The action against synthetic cannabis was taken (from memory) because confidence that the product was safe was extremely low.

    Do you think that DCD is in the same category? The new research will show whether it is or not.


  19. Viv says:

    I never said DCD didn’t do what it claimed to do, ie, reduce nitrogen run off. It was a golden goose for the fertiliser companies until other researchers found what they didn’t appear to have checked for, that some of it ended up in milk and that it changed nitrification in the waterways it went into. My point all along has been that such things should have been fully investigated in a research setting before the product was released nationwide. I don’t think the products used in the rural sector should be subject to lesser standards than those used in other industries. After all, a lot more people drink milk than use synthetic highs (I hope) and the health of waterways is important to more than just people. Does no one else think it was a bit odd that Ravensdown was running seminars promoting eco-n in mid Dec, when they must have been aware of DCD in milk by then? Btw Tracey, this is picking on a fertiliser company not farmers.


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