Fonterra CEO Reassures on Safety of New Zealand Dairy Products

Theo Spierings, chief executive officer of Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world’s largest dairy exporter, said today that New Zealand’s dairy products are safe to consume after a scare over milk contamination.

The comments came after tests found low levels of the fertilizer aid dicyandiamide, or DCD, in dairy products last week. “We have strong science and we are providing assurances about the safety of our product,” Spierings said according to an e-mailed statement. “Our testing has found only minute traces of DCD in samples of some of our products. Our products are safe. Customers can rest assured.”

DCD is used to improve water quality on farms by reducing nitrate levels, as well as cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to the New Zealand government.

Auckland-based Fonterra, which exports to more than 100 countries, relies on China and emerging markets to drive growth. In 2008, a melamine-milk contamination in China killed at least six infants, causing the collapse of its local partner Sanlu Group. The company forecasts the international dairy trade will increase at least 100 billion liters by 2020, led by China and India.

“Since November, we have been closely involved in a working group with the government, the fertilizer companies, scientists and other dairy industry representatives gathering scientific opinion, and undertaking tests,” Spierings said in the statement.

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