New Zealand milk stokes fears in Chinese
Chinese firms recall products exposed to contamination
Chinese producers who bought contaminated batches of whey protein concentrate from New Zealand were recalling products on Sunday, dealing the latest blow to Chinese consumers’ confidence in milk powder products.
Diary giant Fonterra said on Saturday that tests had discovered Clostridium botulinum in its whey protein, which clients buy as raw material to produce baby formula and sports drinks.
Clostridium botulinum is one of the world’s strongest toxins and can destroy the human nervous system if ingested. In infants under 1 year old, it can trigger neural paralysis.
Chinese consumers are very alert to the quality of dairy products, especially after a series of scandals, including the one in 2008 when at least six children died and about 300,000 were poisoned after being exposed to milk powder tainted with melamine, a toxic chemical.
China’s largest beverage producer Hangzhou Wahaha’s Health Food Co and its Import and Export Co, as well as infant nutrition company Dumex, and State-owned food producer Shanghai Sugar Cigarette and Wine (Group) Co, were found to have imported contaminated dairy products from Fonterra, the largest dairy business in New Zealand, according to China’s top quality watchdog.
Shanghai-based Dumex, which imported more than 208 metric tons of the tainted whey protein concentrate, said on Sunday that 12 batches of its baby formula products had been affected.
“Dumex has started a preventive recall and has destroyed the affected finished products,” read a statement on Dumex’s website.
Shanghai Sugar Cigarette and Wine (Group) Co said after investigations that the 4.8 tons of products from the New Zealand supplier had been passed on to its client, Coca-Cola Shanghai.
In an online statement, Coca-Cola Greater China said 25 kilograms of the raw materials were used to produce drinks that blend fruits with milk under the portfolio of Minute Maid, and the rest have been isolated.
“Due to the ultra-high temperature sterilization in the process of production, domestic and foreign experts and our researchers agree the batches of beverage products are safe,” the statement said. “We are working on tracing the production and shipping records of the affected products and recalling them.”