13 Jul 2017

Russia warns dairy restrictions possible after butter tests

3:21 pm on 13 July 2017

Russia is warning of a potential restriction on New Zealand dairy products after finding butter from this country tested positive twice for the antibiotic tetracycline.

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Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

News agency Dairy Reporter said Russia has warned of a potential restriction on New Zealand dairy products after some butter tested positive twice for the veterinary medicine tetracycline.

Russia's government said if it continued to find the antibiotic, it would limit the supply of milk products from New Zealand.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said Russian authorities told it about the contamination, but not about a potential ban.

Dairy Companies Association's New Zealand executive director Kimberly Crewther said the antibiotic was not supposed to be used for dairy cattle.

"Tetracyline is not registered for use in production animals in New Zealand, so we are quite surprised that there has been a detect."

She said it could happen for a range of reasons.

"It may have been a false test result, or there could have been contamination of the sample.

"What would usually happen in these situations is that there will be a technical engagement between New Zealand officials and their counterparts in the market to investigate the cause," Ms Crewther said.

Fonterra said in a statement it would support MPI in engaging with the Russian authorities.