China bans import of bacteria-contaminated NZ milk powder

China bans import of bacteria-contaminated NZ milk powderWith botulism-causing bacteria having been found in some dairy products of New Zealand-based bigwig dairy company Fonterra, Chinese officials have banned the import of all milk powders supplied by Fonterra.

The Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine – the agency which polices food safety – has asked the importers of Fonterra products in China to recall all products which potentially carry the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which causes the rare but fatal disease, botulism.

The move follows the alarms which Fonterra has recently raised about its milk products found to be contaminated with the bacteria. Ordering the ban on the import of New Zealand-produced milk powder, the Chinese agency said that, after learning about the bacteria contamination, it had promptly got in touch with the New Zealand authorities, and asked for “immediate measures” to be put in place, so as to avert any harm to the Chinese consumers because of the “problem products.”

Commenting on the action taken by the China, Tim Groser - New Zealand Trade Minister – said in a statement that the Chinese authorities had, in his opinion “absolutely appropriately,” stopped all imports of New Zealand milk powders.

Groser further added: "It's better to do blanket protection for your people and then wind it back when we, our authorities, are in a position to give them the confidence and advice that they need before doing that."