Thursday, July 7, 2022

Fonterra crisis: China’s temporary ban remains

China has kept a temporary ban in place on imports of Fonterra’s whey-based products and there have been product recalls in other markets.

Otherwise, the co-operative has continued to sell a wide range of powders, cheese, and butter products in world markets, including its biggest market China. As highlighted by last Wednesday’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, trading is ongoing.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has said there was no sign of a reduction in supply contracts or orders.

One area where information appeared to be unclear was Russia, where there may or may not be a temporary ban on all Fonterra products. Russia was not an importer of the whey products subject to contamination.

China’s temporary ban is on whey powder and dairy base powder – a whey-based ingredient used to make infant formula – produced by Fonterra or produced in Australia using Fonterra whey protein powder.

China has also increased inspection and supervision of all New Zealand dairy products at its borders. It has indicated extra testing might be required but at this stage most products were being allowed in, Fonterra said.

This included the biggest-volume products, whole milk powder and skim milk powder.

The whey concentrate at the centre of the scare was exported to seven countries – China, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong. Product had been traced and recalled in those markets but overall they remained open.

Fonterra, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade were all working with customers and regulators to provide assurances on food safety.

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