Our pain, their gain


When the Dutch student who is visiting us heard about the possible contamination of some of Fonterra’s whey, he said, “that could be good for Holland”.

He’s right, New Zealand’s pain could be other countries’ gain:

A top Kiwi milk powder manufacturer is warning the latest infant formula crisis will see western European competitors take advantage of New Zealand’s tarnished brand, and secure contracts in our key export markets.

The CEO of Peak Nutrition, Stephen Julian, says Holland and Germany are already well positioned to profit from New Zealand’s dairy issues and sign deals with some of our traditional export partners like China.

Julian says Holland currently exports around eight billion dollars in dairy products compared to New Zealand’s ten billion annually.

“If you look at the global players, the Dutch market has been hot on our heels for a long time, they are renowned for their dairy production and have much to gain from our latest dairy crisis and Germany isn’t far behind.

“China is a critical market for us and this is not the first time we’ve been embroiled in a dairy scandal, we know how particular the Chinese are about standards and this will impact heavily on our industry as a whole.”

Julian says while his milk powders are not affected by the crisis, as they are made using wet blend technology and are produced and packaged locally, he sympathises with Kiwi parents who are confused about what products are safe for them to purchase for their children.

Julian says it is these Kiwi mums and dads who have most to lose from the latest crisis and the loss will be two-fold.

“Not only are these parents faced with a situation where they are unsure of which formula is safe for their child, the on-going economic repercussions for the nation as a whole could be catastrophic,” he says.

“It is sad to see our global reputation as one of the most trusted dairy producers damaged once again in such a high profile way. We have to hope that this crisis does not affect the New Zealand brand so gravely that it impacts our other primary food producers.” . . .

Fonterra is a strong brand but New Zealand is even stronger and concerns over the whey contamination could impact not just on other dairy products but on any and all other food we produce.

News late yesterday that China hadn’t shut the door to all our dairy products gives some reassurance, but it’s not just officials and governments we have to convince about the safety of our food, it’s the consumers.

Producers in other countries will have sympathy for us but they will also be ready to step into any gaps in the market that are created by concerns over our produce.

Lost in translation?


We spotted this sign near a railway station in Holland.

Does Kiss & Ride mean to the Dutch what it means in English  or has something been lost in translation?

Dutch tightening cannabis laws


Holland is often quoted as a model for liberalising cannabis laws and it is a mistaken belief that the drug isn’t restricted there.

It is and those restrictions are about to be tightened:

The Dutch government is reclassifying high-strength cannabis to put it in the same category as hard drugs.

It says the amount of the main active chemical in the drug, THC, has gone up, making it far more potent than a generation ago.

It means the infamous coffee shops of Amsterdam and other cities will be forced to take the popular, high-strength varieties off their shelves, the BBC reports.

Dutch politicians say high-strength cannabis, known as “skunk”, is more dangerous than it was before.

In the future, anything containing more than 15% THC will be treated the same way as hard drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy.

The move is a big blow to the coffee shops – and means they will have to replace about 80% of their stock with weaker varieties.

Proponents of liberalising cannabis laws here portray it as harmless, or at least relatively so, but as the Dutch have discovered it is much stronger than it used to be and therefore more dangerous.

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