Fonterra is front and centre of food industry conversation at the moment, but the challenges confronting the dairy giant are not exclusive to it, but are an epidemic of chronic status that threatens to be fatal to both the industry and the nation. Unfortunately it has become critical at a time when those in charge of the patient lack both the intellect and the surgical skill to perform the necessary lifesaving procedures.
Fonterra has today announced the findings of its operational review, commissioned by chief executive Theo Spierings, immediately following the Co-operative’s recent precautionary recall.
The world’s largest milk powder drier at Fonterra’s Darfield site kicked into gear last week, producing its first batches of whole milk powder which will be exported to more than 20 markets worldwide including the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia.
Prime Minister John Key has told media that Fonterra knew of its problems with contamination of product well before the public became aware of it this month. Key has said Fonterra’s own documentation puts their discovery of the contamination at, “…May 2012…and… first testing that indicated issues was in March 2013″.
The contamination of infant formula by Fonterra supplied whey protein concentrate has been identified as being of no risk to human health. In spite of early analysis showing that the contaminant was clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, new research has given the product a clear health message.
We shouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese and other customers of New Zealand food products are less than excited by the revelation that the Ministry of Primary Industries’ review of analysis of the contaminant in Fonterra’s whey protein concentrate found it to be harmless to consumers. The issue that has not been dismissed by the latest development in this crisis is that Fonterra not only found contaminants in one of its products, but that it proceeded to supply that contaminated products to other producers as a food ingredient.
Fonterra has raised its predicted farm gate milk price for the 2014 season by 30 cents per kilo of milk solids, raising the estimated pay out to $8.12 per kilo of solids for milk supply plus share dividend.
The newly passed GCSB bill will allow the spy agency to intercept communications from a specified “class” of New Zealanders, one the Prime Ministers deems to be a threat to the security of the nation. As more revelations of Fonterra’s mismanagement of its food safety standards increase the erosion of our international reputation as food producers could dairy farmers and their representatives be such a class? Could the whole food industry, from farm to restaurant, be classified in this way?
Prices at the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction of Fonterra products recovered their losses of the previous auction two weeks ago, an encouraging sign for New Zealand businesses concerned about the long term effects of recent contamination problems at Fonterra.
The fourth case of contaminated New Zealand dairy product in five years, and the third this month, has been classified by Prime Minister John Key as an isolated case, while defending his government’s decision to keep the case secret for a week.
The decision by Ngapuhi to support the maintenance of New Zealanders’ rights to gather wild seafood is a sign that the natives are troubled. In rejecting the Ministry of Primary Industries’ attempt to apply the quota system to recreational fishing, Te Iwi a Runanga o Ngapuhi are putting our food culture above their own vested interest in commercial fishing and taking a stand against the industrialisation of local food culture that has been eroding our social and economic health for 130 years.
Fonterra today announced that Gary Romano has resigned from his role as Managing Director NZ Milk Products, with immediate effect.