30 Jan 2013

NZ ambassador meets Chinese officials on milk worries

7:01 am on 30 January 2013

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says New Zealand's ambassador in Beijing has met Chinese officials to discuss the discovery of an unwanted chemical in some of Fonterra's milk powder.

Traces of dicyandiamide (DCD), a compound used on farmland to reduce nitrogen leaching and boost grass growth, was found during testing by the dairy co-operative in September.

Last week the country's two largest fertiliser companies announced they would be suspending the use of products which contain DCD.

The Ministry says it called for the meeting with China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Fonterra says DCD does not pose a food safety risk, but its discovery could put trading partners off buying milk powder.

Export New Zealand does not expect the discovery to affect Fonterra's exports.

The level of DCD found was 100 times lower than European standards but there is no international standard in place.

Export New Zealand executive director Catherine Beard says Fonterra has gone above and beyond to reassure markets that there is no health problem.