1080 protesters threaten infant formula

March 10, 2015

An email to suppliers from Fonterra chair John Wilson tells us that police  are investigating a criminal threat to contaminate infant and other formula in an apparent protest over the use of 1080 poison in pest control.

  • The Police say that even though there is a possibility that the threat is not genuine, they are treating it seriously and have a full investigation underway.
  • The threat is not specific to Fonterra or our brands.
  • It is a criminal threat designed to cause fear to generate a political outcome.
  • We can assure customers and consumers that our own testing programmes confirm our products are secure and free of 1080.
  • We are confident the right testing and security measures are in place to protect the quality and safety of our products.

We fully support the action being taken by the NZ Police and Government.

The Ministry for Primary Industry gives the background:

Fonterra and Federated Farmers received anonymous letters in late 2014. These letters were accompanied by packages of powder, which tested positive for 1080. Police were alerted immediately.

The letters contained a threat to release infant and other formula contaminated with 1080 to consumers. This contamination was to occur unless New Zealand stopped using 1080 for pest control by late March. The person or people making this threat say they intend to run an international media campaign to publicise their threat and pressure the government to stop using 1080. . .

The  media release says:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is working closely with Police to respond to a criminal threat to contaminate infant and other formula in an apparent protest over the use of 1080 in pest control.

MPI Deputy Director-General Scott Gallacher says the Government’s first priority is protecting the health and wellbeing of consumers.

“We are confident that New Zealand infant and other formula is just as safe today as it was before this threat was made. People should keep using it as they always have,” Mr Gallacher said.

“People should feel equally confident about using imported infant formula which has to meet New Zealand’s strict food safety requirements and is equally secure in the retail chain.

“The ability for anybody to deliberately contaminate infant and other formula during manufacturing is extremely low. Regardless, we encourage people to be vigilant when buying infant and other formula. Our advice is always to check packaging for signs of tampering. We are reinforcing that advice as a result of this blackmail threat.

“New Zealand’s food safety model is among the best in the world. New Zealand manufacturers maintain high levels of security as a normal routine. Security and vigilance has been significantly increased since this threat was received.”

Since the threat was made, the Ministry for Primary Industries – with the support of multiple government agencies, manufacturers and retailers – has put additional measures in place to further protect infant formula products, including:

  • strengthened security measures in retail stores
  • enhanced milk and milk product testing, including a new 1080 testing programme
  • increased vigilance by all relevant players in the supply chain
  • extra physical security at manufacturing premises
  • an audit programme to confirm dairy processing facilities continue to maintain the highest level of security and vigilance.

“The combined MPI and industry testing programmes confirm there is no 1080 in infant and other formula. We have tested just over 40,000 raw milk and product samples and we have had no 1080 detections,” he says.

“This criminal threat is designed to cause fear in order to generate a political outcome. It is using food as a vehicle but should not undermine confidence in our world-class food safety system or in any manufacturer.

“This type of threat does occur from time to time internationally.  We are fortunate that this is the first such threat in New Zealand, and that New Zealand has one of the world’s strongest and most secure food safety systems,” he says.

People with any relevant information should contact Police immediately on 0800 723 665 or opconcord@police.govt.nz. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 11.

Visit www.foodprotection.govt.nz for more advice on how to check packaging for signs of tampering, and for information about government’s response to the threat.

This could be a hoax but Fonterra, MPI and the police are taking it very seriously as they should.

However, some markets whose politicians and media aren’t as open as ours might not understand that it is a potential threat.

Ministers for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, Food Safety Jo Goodhew and Trade Tim Groser recognise this and are doing their best to allay concerns trading partners might have:

The Government is taking a criminal threat to contaminate food products very seriously, and is reassuring parents that our infant and other formulas are safe and that extra testing and security measures have been implemented as a further safeguard.

The New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Primary Industries announced today they have been working with a range of agencies to assess and respond to a threat to contaminate infant and other milk formula products in an apparent protest over the use of 1080 pest control.

“We would like to reassure New Zealanders that every step possible has and is being taken to respond to this threat and ensure the ongoing safety of our food products,” says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, Trade Minister Tim Groser, and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.

“While the police have advised the risk is low, we are taking this very seriously. Since the threat was received last November, the Police have been actively investigating, while the Ministry of Primary Industries and other government agencies have been working closely with industry players across the supply chain to insure that all New Zealanders can have the upmost confidence in these products,” says Mr Guy.

“Every resource has been made available and we have treated this as a top priority. Ministers have taken expert advice on how to respond to a threat of this type and made considered decisions.

“The Government’s first priority is the safety of our food for consumers, both here and overseas. We are highly confident our products are safe and new increased dairy product testing gives even greater assurance.

“It’s hugely disappointing that someone would try to damage New Zealand’s strong reputation for top quality products and processes.”

Mr Groser says New Zealand officials have informed authorities in our major markets about this criminal threat and our measures in response.

Mrs Goodhew says New Zealand has a world class food safety system which has been further reinforced by recent improvements.

“We now have a comprehensive new 1080 testing regime for dairy products that gives us a high degree of confidence. MPI has also analysed the supply chain in detail and worked with manufacturers to put in place additional security measures,” she says.

“This new testing is on top of our normal thorough testing, auditing and verification system. It is extremely unlikely that anybody could deliberately contaminate formula during manufacturing, and there is no evidence of this ever having occurred.

“In addition, we have worked with retailers to address any risk to food products at the retail end of the chain.

“The advice to consumers is not to consume any food product that appears to be have been tampered with, and report it to the Ministry for Primary Industries immediately.

“Any signs of tampering are easy to spot. Detailed information on how to check products and further information is available at www.foodprotection.govt.nz.”

If parents or caregivers have any concerns they can contact Plunketline 0800 933 922 or Healthline 0800 611 116.  


Word of the day

March 10, 2015

Symmachy  – fighting jointly or joining a war against a common enemy.


Password tips, job loss and questions for kids

March 10, 2015

Discussion with Simon Mercep on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* 6 tips for creating an unbreakable password that you’ll remember.

* A New Definition on losing a job at Abbey Has Issues

and

* 11 questions that will make your child happier.


Rural round-up

March 10, 2015

Fonterra shifts staff from Auckland to regions – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra has begun shifting out top-level managers from Auckland head office to jobs in the regions as it tackles complaints of a disconnect with its farmers and moves more decision-making back to dairying heartlands.

The co-operative has made appointments to the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury regions and is recruiting four more executives for Otago-Southland, Northland, Taranaki and Central Districts.

A large part of their jobs will be to work with farmer-shareholders to understand their needs and to be a communication bridge between farmers with growth plans and local councils, said Fonterra group director of co-operative affairs, Miles Hurrell, to whom they will report.

“Having those decisions made in Auckland is not doing those regions a service, in terms of the farmer base and communications,” he said. . .

Outstanding family operation scoops award :

Central Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmers Alastair and Tracy Ormond and Alastair’s son Daniel are the Supreme winners of the 2015 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At an awards dinner on March 5, the Ormonds, who farm 620ha of hill-country in the Hatuma district, also collected the Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award and the East Coast Farming for the Future Award (sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council).

BFEA judges described the Ormond’s farm ‘Te Umuopua’ as a well-planted and thoughtfully-developed property with land and water managed to the limitations of soil types. . .

‘Trying to be proactive’ to help foreign workers – Hamish Maclean:

Driving skills, English language training and access to services are the top concerns of the growing international workforce in the Clutha district, Clutha District Settlement Support chairwoman Chris Shaw says.

The settlement support group, on hand at the Southern Region Dairy Expo at Clydevale last week, offers a 12 week everyday English course and brings students from its Clydevale base to Dunedin for Literacy Aotearoa’s learner driver’s licence theory tutorial, which has been tailored for people for whom English is a second language. . .

Two tie for title of supreme sheep – Sally Rae:

Sheep breeding is a passion for Kerry Dwyer.

And while it might just be a hobby, he was serious about breeding good sheep, he said after tying with Will Gibson for the title of supreme champion sheep at the recent North Otago A&P Show.

Mr Dwyer’s Suffolk ram, which won champion meat breed, and Mr Gibson’s coloured merino ram, which won champion wool breed, finished with the same number of points when it came to the judging of supreme champion. . .

First Future Leaders Committee Selected:

The NZKGI Executive Committee is pleased to announce the inaugural Future Leaders Committee:

Shaun Vickers of Ballance Agri-Nutrients—Chair
Rikki James of Cameron Farms —Treasurer
Cody Bent of Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool—Secretary
Mary Black of Zespri International
Campbell Wood of Seeka Kiwifruit Industries
Keiran Harvey of Bay Gold Limited

NZKGI President, Neil Trebilco, said the selection process was very competitive. “The calibre of all applicants was very high, making the decision a very difficult one.”

“However we’re confident we have selected a group of passionate and motivated horticulture people who have very diverse backgrounds and different perspectives – a great combination for a strong, effective committee. . .

 

Women Farmers Making it Happen #IWD2015 – Food tank:

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is “Make it Happen.” All over the world, there are innovative women inspiring us at Food Tank. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of women in agriculture, while also calling on more resources and support.

The Open Working Group (OWG) of the U.N. General Assembly recently proposed their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include the need to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The goals also aim to reduce inequality within and among countries, combat climate change, build resilient communities, ensure access to education, promote healthy lifestyles, end hunger, achieve food security, and promote sustainable agriculture. Women are already making many of these goals happen in villages and cities around the globe. . .

Record wine exports mark the start of vintage 2015:

Wine exports have reached a record high and now stand at $1.37 billion, up 8.2%, propelling wine to New Zealand’s 6th biggest export good.

This strong demand in key markets bodes well for the wine industry, whose 2015 grape harvest is now underway. . .


Whose tree is it?

March 10, 2015

Who owns this tree?

A protester is going into a second day 25 metres up a kauri in Titirangi, vowing to hang in there until the tree is safe.

The owners of the property have consent to cut down the 500-year-old tree and a 300-year-old rimu, but some locals have been vocal in their opposition. . .

Police issued Mr Tavares a verbal trespass notice yesterday afternoon.

Auckland Council had allowed the removal of the trees so developers John Lenihan and Jane Greensmith could build two homes.

The council said it was satisfied all measures were being taken to minimise the effects of the tree removal and ecological value of the site.

It said the developers had chosen to build the homes close to the road to minimise the number of trees that need to be removed.

The council said it understood people’s concerns but the zoning on these sites allowed for development if environmental effects were considered. . .

This tree is on private property.

It doesn’t belong to the protesters or the council.

It belongs to the people who own the property.

They have gone through the expensive process of getting consent for their plans and have chosen to site the homes to minimise the impact they’ll have on the trees.

Those wanting to protect the tree are trampling over the property rights of the owner.

They will also be putting other people off planting trees for fear that they, or those who come after them, will have their property rights threatened.


Enemy of this enemy no friend

March 10, 2015

Quote of the day:

. . . Whoever wields the shovel, bullshit is bullshit. It is bullshit to claims that Islamist acts of terror have nothing to do with Islam, or that ISIS are freedom-fighting anti-imperialists in sheik’s clothing. However tenuous their grasp on scripture, these are swivel-eyed religious fanatics on a killing spree of shocking proportions. Common antipathy towards U.S. (oh, and Israel) is a very bad reason not to stop them. – Phil Quin

This enemy of the USA is no friend of anyone’s except those who share its evil intent.

Anyone using anti-Americanism to justify not doing everything possible to counter that evil is letting political prejudice blind them to reality.

Hat tip: Karl du Fresne

 P.S.

Apropos of mindless anti-Americanism and confused thinking:

To which someone responded:

Labour doesn’t want to send troops to Iraq but it wants to send TVNZ reporters?!


March 10 in history

March 10, 2015

241 BC Battle of the Aegates Islands – The Romans sank the Carthaginian fleet bringing the First Punic War to an end.

1606 Susenyos defeated the combined armies of Yaqob and Abuna Petros II at the Battle of Gol in Gojjam, which made him Emperor of Ethiopia.

1762 French Huguenot Jean Calas, who was wrongly convicted of killing his son, died after being tortured by authorities; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform.

1804 Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.

1814 Napoleon I of France was defeated at the Battle of Laon in France.

1830 The KNI, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, was created.

1831  The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

1844 – Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist and composer was born (d. 1908).

1847  Kate Sheppard, New Zealand suffragist, was born  (d. 1934).

1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican-American War.

1861 El Hadj Umar Tall seized the city of Segou, destroying the Bambara Empire of Mali.

1869 The New Zealand Cross was created because New Zealand’s local military were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, all to men who served in the New Zealand wars, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world.

New Zealand Cross created

1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call by saying “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

1891 Almon Strowger, an undertaker patented the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.

1905 Eleftherios Venizelos called for Crete’s union with Greece, and started the Theriso revolt.

1906 Courrières mine disaster, Europe’s worst ever, killed 1099 miners in Northern France.

1912 Yuan Shikai was sworn in as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China.

1917  Batangas was formally founded as one of the Philippines’s earliest encomiendas.

1922 Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation.

1933 An earthquake in Long Beach, California killed 115 people and causes an estimated $40 million dollars in damage.

1945 The USA Army Air Force firebombed Tokyo, and the resulting firestorm killed more than 100,000 people.

1947 – Kim Campbell, Canadian lawyer and politician, 19th Prime Minister of Canada

1952 –  Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, was born.

1952  Fulgencio Batista led a successful coup in Cuba and appointed himself as the “provisional president”.

1957 Osama bin Laden, Islamist and leader of al-Qaeda, was born (d. 2011).

1959 Tibetan uprising: Fearing an abduction attempt by China, 300,000 Tibetans surround the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent his removal.

1964 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born.

1969 James Earl Ray admitted assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He later retracted his guilty plea.

1970 Captain Ernest Medina was charged with My Lai war crimes.

1977 Rings of Uranus: Astronomers discover rings around Uranus.

1980 Madeira School headmistress Jean Harris shot and killed Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower

1980 – Formation of the Irish Army Ranger Wing

1990 In Haiti, Prosper Avril was ousted 18 months after seizing power in a coup.

1995 – Auckland Warriors debuted in the New South Wales Rugby League’s expanded Winfield Cup competition.

2000 NASDAQ Composite stock market index peaked at 5132.52, signaling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom.

2006 The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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