Milk sales halted for six weeks

Re­porter Rexine Hawes turns back the pages of the Chron­i­cle for our Back in the Day Se­ries.

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place -

For six solid weeks in 1989, not one car­ton of milk was sold in Mata­mata, with the Mata­mata Chron­i­cle re­port­ing car­tons were ‘‘gath­er­ing dust in su­per­mar­kets and dairies’’.

This re­port­edly came after a swing to­wards plas­tic milk bot­tles which ac­tu­ally saw a short­age of plas­tic con­tain­ers.

Mata­mata milk ven­dors and the Tau­ranga Milk Com­pany agreed they felt the rea­son be­hind the stall in sales was due to a sug­ges­tion that traces of the fa­tal chem­i­cal dioxyn had been found in car­ton ma­te­rial, which scared the pub­lic away from the prod­uct.

This in turn halted sales en­tirely as re­tail­ers were hes­i­tant to take on the dairy prod­uct.

Mar­ket­ing man­ager for Tau­ranga Milk Com­pany Kaye Spence said car­tons were ‘‘fully avail­able but re­tail­ers through­out Tau­ranga/Thames Val­ley area are re­luc­tant to take them be­cause they won’t sell’’.

The pop­u­lar­ity of the plas­tic con­tainer meant the Tau­ranga Milk Com­pany was forced to pro- duce less of its 1-litre fruit juice, to meet de­mand for milk con­tain­ers.

The de­mand was soon met and Spence said the is­sue was not likely to be re­peated.

This re­port in the Chron­i­cle came after an­other front page ar­ti­cle on April 24 which said that 10 per cent of the plas­tic milk bot­tles made by the Tau­ranga Milk Com­pany leaked.

Plas­tic bot­tles re­placed glass on April 1, 1989.

This was caused by a small gap in­tro­duced dur­ing the cap crossthread­ing process, which caused leaks dur­ing the trans­port and han­dling process.

Irena Lead­beater of Tower Dis­counts said she had to clean leaked milk from the shop floor and fridge ev­ery morn­ing.

She couldn’t see an easy so­lu­tion, as tight­en­ing caps only made it harder for the con­sumer to un-do.

Spence said the com­pany didn’t ex­pect ven­dors to check ev­ery bot­tle of milk for crossthread­ing prior to de­liv­ery.

She said adding fac­tory per­son­nel at the cap­ping ma­chine to en­sure caps went on prop­erly pro­duced good re­sults.

Only a few de­fec­tive bot­tles got past the scru­tiny of the ex­tra staff.

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