30 Jan 2013

Handling of milk residue controversy criticised

2:43 pm on 30 January 2013

A New Zealand milk exporter says the government should be doing more to reassure China about a hazardous chemical found in New Zealand milk.

Traces of dicyandiamide (DCD), a compound used on farmland to reduce the leaching of nitrogen and boost grass growth, was found by Fonterra in the milk powder in September last year following improved testing.

An exporter of New Zealand dairy products said media coverage of the controversy scared away his Chinese customers.

Simon Page founded Biopure Health, which sells New Zealand made milk products in China.

He told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme he had heard from the manufacturer his products contain no DCD and he is now having to reassure customers his milk is safe.

He said his business is recovering, but in the first couple of days it was quite a shock."We've got some pretty loyal customers ... and all of a sudden, no customers. People were actually walking past the shops and pointing and saying 'that's New Zealand milk, it's no good'."

Mr Page said Chinese officials should be invited to New Zealand to inspect milk manufacturing here.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said New Zealand's ambassador in Beijing had met Chinese officials to discuss the residue discovery.