Melamine in New Zealand milk products

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A friend of your correspondent who once milked cows on a dairy farm in Australia recently recounted how Australian dairy farmers would add cheap milk powder to fresh milk when it failed to meet protein and other quality standards.

It seems that doctoring substandard milk is common all over the world. This point was also made by a new story today from New Zealand, a country that prides itself on the purity of its agricultural products. (New Zealand is a major dairy producer and also home country of Fonterra, which owns 43% of Sanlu, the company responsible for the the tainted milk powder that has killed four babies and caused the current milk crisis.) New Zealand’s 3 News reports:

One of the world’s biggest exporters of hugely expensive dairy protein lactoferrin has suspended exports in order to clarify how it was contaminated by melamine.

Morrinsville-based Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company Ltd said today it expected dairy exporters were in future likely to test for melamine contamination before releasing product for sale.

China this month shut down production at dairy company Sanlu after its baby formula was found contaminated with melamine, leading to the deaths of four infants.

Tatua’s board will meet tomorrow, and is expected to discuss the contamination.

A Chinese customer told Tatua’s agent two weeks ago that melamine had been detected on its product in China.

Further tests were done in both in China and New Zealand, and results on September 22 and 23 confirmed contamination at less than four parts per million…

…The [New Zealand Food Safety Authority ] has no legal maximum residue level (MRL) for melamine in milk, even though in June it published MRLs for melamine at 0.3mg/kg in sheepmeats, and 0.15mg/kg in poultry and eggs.

The traceback was expected to canvass whether the melamine was introduced to the raw milk, either by farmers using insecticides containing cyromazine, an insecticide which breaks down to melamine in mammals and plants, or feeding dairy cows cheap imported feeds such as palm kernel contaminated with cyromazine or its metabolite, melamine.

Perhaps it’s time to test dairy products from Denmark, U.S.A., France and Holland etc. for dodgy additives?

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