Another nail in the coffin has landed for New Zealand milk in China as a new dairy reports a product quality issue related to milk exported to China.
New Zealand-based dairy company Westland Milk Products announced that a small amount of lactoferrin powder with elevated nitrate levels has been exported to China. The product has been traced and quarantined. Further, the company claims the nitrate levels did not comprise a food safety risk.
Chief Executive Rod Quin said Westland had reported to the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries that two batches of lactoferrin totaling 390 kilograms showed nitrate levels of 610 and 2198 parts per million, respectively. The New Zealand maximum limit for nitrates is apparently 150 parts per million. The product was initially not identified as non-compliant during Westland's routine testing regime prior to export. All of the non-complying lactoferrin was sent to China.
Quin says nitrates are a naturally occurring substance found in such foods as leafy green vegetables. The company says the main issue is not that it was present in the lactoferrin powder, but that the 390 kilograms was over allowable levels.
Westland also put a hold on all of its lactoferrin in its own warehouse and commenced re-testing all individual batches. All other lactoferrin product tested to date has returned results well below the New Zealand nitrates limit. No other Westland products were affected.
Earlier this month, New Zealand-based Fonterra advised 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. Some of that milk had arrived in China. 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.