Aug 08, 2013

    No more tainted-milk risk, says Fonterra

    THE chief executive of New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra said the risk that people could contract botulism from infant formula made with the company's whey concentrate has ended.

    Speaking at a press conference in Auckland yesterday, Mr Theo Spierings said that all supplies of potentially contaminated infant formula have been removed from the international market. He said there was almost no more risk for consumers.

    He apologised again to consumers for the anxiety the scare had caused. He had returned this week from China, where he was doing damage control.

    He said 18 tonnes of potentially contaminated whey-protein concentrate had been turned into 2,300 tonnes of infant formula and other products that had now been recalled successfully.

    Fonterra was one of six companies that were fined in China, following an investigation into price fixing and anti-competitive practices by foreign baby-formula makers.

    The six companies - the United States' Mead Johnson Nutrition and Abbott Laboratories, French company Danone, Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina, Hong Kong-listed Biostime International Holdings and Fonterra - were fined a total of US$110 million (S$139 million), the National Development and Reform Commission said yesterday.

    The official Xinhua news agency said the fines were a record for China.

    Foreign brands account for about half of total sales in China and can sell for more than double the price of local formula. The infant-milk market in the world's second-biggest economy is set to grow to US$25 billion by 2017.