10 Feb 2015

NZ tops list of China dairy import rejects

6:03 am on 10 February 2015

Figures on a Chinese consumer website show New Zealand has topped a list of countries that had their milk products rejected by China last year.

The website says, according to customs data, nearly 14 percent of the total number of dairy products rejected between October 2013 and November 2014 were from this country.

The Shipin Anquan Kuaisu Jiance site did not specify why 60 batches from New Zealand were rejected, but said generally products from around the world had been sent back or destroyed because of illegal use of chemicals, expired due-by-date or excessive e-coli bacteria counts.

New Zealand China Council executive director Pat English said the returns could be to do with paperwork.

"Shipments into a country like China, they're very exacting around documentation, so it could be a documentation error."

The Ministry for Primary Industries says, in New Zealand's case, it would more likely be technical error than food safety problems.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said even without seeing a translation of the figures, they would not be a great surprise, because New Zealand was the world's largest dairy exporter and China purchased a third of the country's dairy exports.

In 2014, China dairy imports totaled 1,545,191 tonnes of which 834,166 tonnes or 54 percent was supplied by New Zealand, according to dairy analyst Susan Kilsby.

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