Fonterra has launched an internal investigation after 19 people were arrested in Shanghai for selling nearly 300 tonnes of expired milk powder.
The suspects were reportedly managing a company which was packaging expired products of the New Zealand dairy giant into smaller packages for resale below market prices.
After a lengthy investigation, police discovered one of the suspects sold the expired products to another company, who in turn allegedly resold almost 200 tonnes to distributors in Shanghai and in the Jiangsu, Henan and Qinghai provinces, who sold them on e-commerce platforms or in wholesale.
Authorities have seized 100 tonnes of these products and have shut down the websites selling them.
A spokesman for Fonterra said the company supported the action taken by Chinese authorities and that it believed the case was a one-off.
“We support the enforcement steps taken by Chinese officials. While we believe this is an isolated criminal incident, we are reviewing the case internally,” spokesman Phil Johnstone told Reuters.
The milk powder scandal is the latest to hit China’s beleaguered food industry, where food safety incidents, including sale of adulterated or expired products have been on the rise. . .
The company is doing the right thing by investigating another murky milk mess in China.
The expired milk powder probably isn’t a health risk. Use-by dates are very conservative and a lot of food is still safe after the expiry date.
But that’s not the point.
Milk powder that has passed its expiry date has not been disposed of appropriately. The company needs to find out how that happened and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.