New Zealand dis­misses Sri Lanka’s milk scare

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

New Zealand has re­jected al­le­ga­tions from Sri Lanka that its dairy prod­ucts were con­tam­i­nated with a farm chem­i­cal, ac­cus­ing in­dus­try ri­vals of ex­ploit­ing fears stirred by a re­cent bot­u­lism scare.

Sri Lanka’s health min­istry re­called batches of milk pow­der made by Auck­land-based dairy gi­ant Fon­terra, say­ing it was con­cerned the prod­uct con­tained the chem­i­cal di­cyan­di­amide.

The re­call was un­re­lated to the global safety re­call an­nounced by Fon­terra af­ter tests turned up a type of bac­te­ria that could cause po­ten­tially- fa­tal bot­u­lism.

How­ever, New Zealand Trade Min­is­ter Tim Groser said the bot­u­lism scare had pro­vided am­mu­ni­tion to Fon­terra’s “en­e­mies” in Sri Lanka, where it is the mar­ket leader.

“There are cer­tain dairy com­pa­nies (in Sri Lanka) that have cam­paigned for years against New Zealand,” he told Ra­dio New Zealand.

“I’ve been say­ing in the con­text of re­cent events (that) we do have en­e­mies around the world and they have dif­fer­ent faces. They’ll take ad­van­tage of an op­por­tu­nity like this, we can’t be naive.”

Di­cyan­di­amide, or DCD, is added to pas­tures to re­duce the amount of green­house gases emit­ted by dairy herds.

New Zealand of­fi­cials in­sist it is harm­less, but say Fon­terra’s farm­ers stopped us­ing it ear­lier this year any­way.

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