28 Jan 2013

Fonterra moves to allay milk product fears

8:00 am on 28 January 2013

Dairy giant Fonterra is moving to allay fears among international regulators and consumers that its products are tainted, after tests found minute levels of an agricultural chemical.

Taiwan's health ministry is conducting random checks for dicyandiamide (DCD) on shipments of infant milk power from New Zealand, while Chinese officials have asked for more information in response to consumer unease.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says scientists are confident the company's milk products are safe to consume.

He says it's understandable that customers and governments have questions.

Mr Spierings says Fonterra has had many enquiries over the last couple of days and has a team up and running to answer those questions.

Fonterra detected the presence of DCD during routine testing of its milk.

The United States Food and Drug Administration added the compound to its list of substances to test for last year - leading to testing for the compound in New Zealand.

Mr Spierings says the traces detected were 100 times lower than acceptable levels under European food safety limits.

The nitrification inhibitor DCD is contained in eco-n produced by Ravensdown and DCn produced by Agri-Nutrients. It helps prevent nitrogen leaching into waterways and reduces nitrous oxide gas emissions. Both companies have suspended sales of the products.