New Zealand-based Fonterra has advised eight of its customers of a quality issue involving three batches of a particular type of whey protein concentrate produced at a single New Zealand manufacturing site in May 2012.
On July 31, 2013, Fonterra's tests indicated the potential presence of a strain of Clostridium Botulinum in a sample. That bacteria strain can can cause botulism, a deadly malady.
Fonterra says there have been no reports of any illness linked to consumption of the affected whey protein. Dairy products such as fresh milk, yoghurt, cheese, spreads and UHT milk products are not affected. But baby formula shipped to other countries like China is affected.
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in China has reportedly also told importers to recall any products in mainland China that might contain this deadly ingredient.
New Zealand milk products have usually been a benchmark for high quality in China. Chinese brands like Bright Dairy have been cashing in on this by building farms and factories in New Zealand to export products back to China. Bright Dairy also had an initial public offering in New Zealand this year.
And Fonterra too has seen the Chinese market as very important. The company recently invested in the opening of more manufacturing capacity in China to help build its brand and distribution across the nation.