17 Apr 2015

Making Milk - the Yashili Factory in Pokeno

From Country Life, 9:13 pm on 17 April 2015


carolCans of infant milk powder are due to start rolling off the production line at New Zealand's only decicated baby formula plant in Pokeno next month.

The north Waikato town is home to the Chinese-owned Yashili plant. All of its products will be exported to China.

Yashili New Zealand spokeperson Leon Fung (below) says the factory is the biggest single drying plant for infant milk in Asia.

It can produce 8.4 tonnes of infant milk powder an hour.

Built at a cost of between $210 and $220 million, it will process 300-thousand litres of milk a day when it reaches full production.

The milk is being bought from Fonterra and from Open Country Dairy.

Mr Fung says the plant currently employs 45 to 50 people but, as production increases, staff numbers will build to about 120.

He says the recent threats to contaminate infant formula with 1080 have caused Yashili to ramp up security even more at the factory.

Additional CCTV cameras have been installed at the plant. The public only has access to the reception area and finger print recognition technology only allows registered individuals to enter the factory. People are scanned for a second time before they are allowed on the production floor.