Fon­terra’s costly stor­age er­ror

South Waikato News - - Rural Delivery - KELSEY WILKIE

An in­ci­dent in­volv­ing dairy prod­ucts stored at in­cor­rect tem­per­a­tures in com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions is ex­tremely rare, ac­cord­ing to MPI.

It is un­der­stood that mil­lions of dol­lars worth of dairy prod­uct at Fon­terra’s Crawford St plant was left in a trans­port tun­nel for six days in 10 de­gree cel­sius tem­per­a­tures.

The max­i­mum time the prod­uct could be stored at the tem­per­a­ture with­out be­ing dam­aged was two days.

The fac­tory col­lects a third of all Fon­terra’s in­gre­di­ents in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, dis­tribut­ing 33,000 con­tain­ers of milk pow­der and cheese a year, Fon­terra’s web­site says.

NZ Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­tres gen­eral man­ager Deena Clark­son has said the com­pany was hold­ing po­ten­tially af­fected prod­uct at the cool store for qual­ity checks.

Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries sys­tems au­dit, as­sur­ance and mon­i­tor­ing act­ing di­rec­tor Paul Dansted said MPI has been work­ing with Fon­terra in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent.

In­ci­dents in­volv­ing dairy prod­ucts stored at the in­cor­rect tem­per­a­ture were rare, he said.

MPI runs a num­ber of mon­i­tor­ing and test­ing pro­grammes fo­cussed on en­sur­ing com­pli­ance with food safety re­quire­ments.

Its mon­i­tor­ing pro­grammes cover meat, poul­try, seafood, honey, dairy prod­ucts and fresh pro­duce. More than a mil­lion tests are car­ried out by MPI each year.

Any po­ten­tial food safety is­sues must be re­ported to a com­pany "ver­i­fier’’ who re­ports to MPI. All po­ten­tially af­fected prod­uct was then se­cured and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion started.

If tests show the Fon­terra dairy prod­uct has been dam­aged by the in­cor­rect stor­age, the prod­uct could po­ten­tially be used as stock food, re­pro­cessed us­ing heat treat­ment or de­stroyed, Dansted said.

The prod­uct could ei­ther be dis­posed at a land­fill or buried.

On Fri­day, Clark­son said the com­pany was con­tin­u­ing to take pre­cau­tions, its qual­ity checks were work­ing, and most prod­uct was mov­ing through Crawford St as usual.

If a com­pany does not ad­vise MPI of an is­sue ac­tions could range from for­mal warn­ings, in­creased ver­i­fi­ca­tion vis­its to pros­e­cu­tion.

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