Contamination of milk powder claim denied
A German man has denied attempting to cause major commercial losses in New Zealand by claiming milk powder was contaminated.
Maximillian Christian Zucker, 20, allegedly ‘‘communicated information he believed to be false’’ about milk powder at Pacific Lab Holdings, in Marlborough, last month.
Police claim Zucker intended to ‘‘cause a significant disruption to commercial activity in New Zealand’’, likely to cause major economic loss to the company director.
Zucker worked for Pacific Lab Holdings at the end of the production line, where he stacked packages onto pallets before distribution, police said.
It was not revealed in court how Zucker allegedly made his claim, or what the alleged contamination was.
Zucker entered a not guilty plea at his second appearance at the Blenheim District Court yesterday.
He was remanded on bail for a case review hearing on December 18.
Zucker was in the country on a visa, staying in Marlborough, and was supposed to leave in late November.
His bail conditions required him to surrender his passport to police.
He was also banned from going to Pacific Lab Holdings and from leaving Marlborough.
It was not the first time milk powder was at the centre of criminal charges in New Zealand.
Auckland man Jeremy Hamish Kerr, 60, sent blackmail letters to Fonterra and Federated Farmers in 2014, threatening to poison milk powder with 1080 if use of the pest control poison was not stopped.
The letters were accompanied by a package of milk powder contaminated with 1080.
The Government took four months to reveal the threat to the public, concerned about the impact it could have on consumer confidence and the economy.
Kerr was sentenced to eight and half years’ jail on two counts of blackmail in 2016.