乳製品の細菌汚染/ニュージーランド フォンテラ社


NZフォンテラ社、乳製品の細菌汚染を謝罪 隠蔽は否定
AFP=時事 8月5日(月)19時16分配信
【AFP=時事】ニュージーランドの乳業大手フォンテラ(Fonterra)のセオ・スピアリングス(Theo Spierings)最高経営責任者(CEO)は5日、同社の乳清(ホエー)製品からボツリヌス中毒を引き起こす細菌が見つかり、中国で製品のリコールが起きた問題をめぐり謝罪した。一方、同社が情報公開を遅らせたとする政府の非難に対しては、そのような事実はないと否定した。



 これに先だって、ニュージーランドのジョン・キー(John Key)首相は、フォンテラ社の製品汚染の報告が「驚くほど」遅れたことを非難していた。一連の製品が製造された2012年5月の検査では「何らかの」結果が示されていたにもかかわらず、「会社が問題視せずに輸出したこと」について「私はがく然としている」と、キー首相はラジオ・ニュージーランド(Radio New Zealand)に語っていた。

 これに対してスピアリングスCEOは、問題の兆候が初めて浮上したのは今年3月の試験だったと主張。細菌の種類を特定するための追試も必要だったことを挙げ、「それには時間がかかった。7月31日に確認された。私の知る限り、7月31日には情報を発信し、24時間後には正式な手順をとって顧客とニュージーランド当局に情報を伝えた」と説明した。【翻訳編集】 AFPBB News

Fonterra under fire over milk scare; more product recalls

By Naomi Tajitsu
WELLINGTON | Tue Aug 6, 2013 9:55am EDT
画像(Reuters) - Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, came under fire from the New Zealand government, farmers and financial regulators for its handling of a food contamination scare that has triggered product recalls and spooked parents from China to Saudi Arabia.

The government sent officials to Fonterra premises to ensure a clearer message and to regain international confidence after New Zealand's biggest company was criticized for dragging its feet in saying it sold whey protein products that contained a bacteria that could cause botulism - a potentially fatal food poisoning.

"We will be conducting an internal review and this will be subject to external scrutiny as well," Gary Romano, Fonterra's managing director of New Zealand Milk Products, told reporters.

The country's agricultural lobby urged Fonterra to be open with parents of infants about details of the contamination. "There will be a reckoning, but now is not the time; the ‘who, what, why, when, where and how' questions come later," Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman Willy Leferink said in a statement. "Right now, we owe it to our consumers here and abroad to give them facts and not speculation."

New Zealand's Financial Markets Authority said it was concerned about how long it took Fonterra to disclose the contamination issue. The company said it confirmed on July 31 that this was caused by a dirty pipe at one of its New Zealand plants, before issuing a media statement early on Saturday, three days later, and an announcement to investors on Monday.

There have been no reports of illness resulting from the affected products, but the scare risks tainting New Zealand's "clean and green" image.

Finance Minister Bill English said the economy was likely to escape any significant damage as a result of the Fonterra scare, but there was some longer term risk to the country's reputation.

"The economic impact of the amount of product currently under restrictions is sufficiently small (that) it wouldn't have a discernible impact on our GDP," English said in reply to a question in parliament.


On Monday, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said the company did not face a ban on its products in China, only restrictions on whey protein concentrate. He said he expected the curbs would be lifted this week as soon as Fonterra provides Chinese regulators with a detailed explanation of what went wrong.

China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and other countries, however, have issued fresh instant formula milk product recalls, and the New Zealand government warned that China could extend restrictions on whey protein powder to other dairy products.

"So far, (there has been) very limited action. But this is likely to change, and it would change in the direction of wider, not narrower," Trade Minister Tim Groser told reporters.

Fonterra is a major supplier of bulk milk powder products used in infant formula in China, but doesn't sell in China under its own brand name after local dairy company Sanlu, in which it held a large stake, was found to have added melamine - often used in plastics - to bulk up formulas in 2008. Six babies died then and thousands were taken ill.

China's consumer quality body said it ordered a recall of two batches of milk formula brands marketed by Abbott Laboratories, a day after some of the U.S. healthcare company's products were recalled in Vietnam. [ID:nL4N0G60FP] Abbot said the move was a precautionary measure after some of its milk formula brands, which did not contain whey protein concentrate sourced from Fonterra, were packaged in the Fonterra facility.

Cow & Gate recalled 80,000 cans of one type of its stage-three baby formula in Hong Kong and Macau. It said there were no signs of contamination in any of the products sold in the two regions. More infant formula tins were cleared from New Zealand supermarkets after Nutricia, part of French food group Danone which makes the Karicare brand, announced a blanket ban on two of its infant products late on Monday.

Sri Lanka suspended milk powder imports from New Zealand, while Brunei media cited its government as ordering a recall and the ban on the import, distribution and sale of Fonterra food products. [ID:nL4N0G63CJ] Fonterra has not identified either of those countries as having been affected by the safety issue, though it has said products containing the contaminated whey protein had been sold on to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.


While under pressure at home, Fonterra also faces a key global hurdle later on Tuesday at its fortnightly Global Dairy Trade auction, the world's biggest wholesale marketplace for milk powders, butter, cheese and other dairy products - most of which originate in New Zealand.

"It's going to be a test for buyer perception of what impact this issue will have on prices and sentiment towards New Zealand products," said Hayley Moynihan, a dairy industry analyst at Rabobank.

Other analysts said sluggish demand at the auction could be seen as a sign that customers were less willing to pay premium prices for New Zealand dairy products, which are near their highest levels since the auctions began about five years ago.

A drop in demand for New Zealand dairy produce could dent the economy. Dairy exports earn about a quarter of New Zealand's NZ$46 billion annual export earnings.

Units in Fonterra's Shareholders Fund, which offer outside investors exposure to the cooperative's farmer shareholder dividends, closed up 1.3 percent on Tuesday at NZ$6.95, erasing most of the previous day's losses.

"If Fonterra gets knocked as far as confidence is concerned then the farmer gets knocked, because at the end of the day Fonterra is the farmer," said William Stolte, a farmer in Masterton on New Zealand's North Island.

"And the farmer has to accept that ... meanwhile, we have to keep milking the cows."

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Standing in Beijing and Anne-Marie Roantree in Hong Kong; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Ian Geoghegan)






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