DCD has been used to reduce nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand for nearly a decade.
“What’s changed is that last year organisations like the US Food and Drug Administration added DCD to a list of substances to test for.
“This, combined with increasingly sophisticated scanning technology now presents a possible trade risk,” Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell said.
“Given the risk to NZ’s dairy export reputation, Ravensdown has taken the initiative and is suspending the single product which uses DCD for this calendar year.”
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) deputy director of general standards Carol Barnao said there is no internationally set standard for DCD residues in food because DCD has not been considered to have any impact on food safety.
“Because no standard exists, the detectable presence of DCD residues in milk could be unacceptable to consumers and our international markets, even in the small amounts found in recent testing,” she said.
A working group comprising representatives from MPI, Fonterra, the Dairy Companies Association of NZ, Ravensdown and Ballance has been initiated to assess the use of dicyandiamide on farmland.
The working group was set up after testing on whole milk powder detected the occasional presence of low levels of DCD coinciding with the times of the year that the product is applied.
“Once we knew that even very low levels of DCD residues found in milk may present a trade issue, MPI set up a working group to assess the impact of that, even though there is no food safety concern associated with the use of DCD,” Barnao said.
“Given DCD’s environmental benefits, the working group will continue to assess its future use in a way that meets trade requirements.”