Time to sack Fonterra | The Jackal

4 Aug 2013

Time to sack Fonterra

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Authorities have recalled up to 1000 tonnes of dairy products across this country and seven others after Fonterra announced tests had found a bacterium that could cause botulism.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said the tainted products included infant formula, sports drinks, protein drinks and other beverages. Countries affected beside New Zealand included China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

The botulism bacteria scare is likely to cause "sheer, absolute panic" in China as the news filters through the world's second biggest economy, says a Kiwi involved in the dairy trade.

Gregg Wycherley, managing director of Auckland baby milk brand Fresco Nutrition, said he anticipates "wholesale removal of New Zealand infant formula off Chinese supermarket shelves" by tomorrow morning.

The New Zealand Dairy industry was only just recovering from a severe drought, so this is really bad news for the sector.

Couple this latest botulism scare with the 2008 melamine scandal that killed far more infants than China disclosed, a terrible case of corporate manslaughter that Fonterra was implicated in, and there's no doubt that our clean and green image in terms of dairy products has been badly damaged.

There was also the DCD contamination and the radioactive milk scare earlier this year, whereby Sri Lanka’s Atomic Energy Authority was pressured by New Zealand officials to suspend testing milk powder for radionuclides. In light of these events, the public is clearly justified in having serious concerns about the safety of milk products produced in New Zealand.

The lesson to learn here is to not have all your eggs in one basket. New Zealand must diversify its production base away from dairying to provide better economic security. Not only will this help to repair some of the environmental damage caused by an improperly regulated industry, it will also mean our exporting income is resilient and can handle any future changes in worldwide markets.

In the meantime, the idiots over at Fonterra who've allowed these multiple milk contaminations to occur should be sacked. In fact let's just sack Fonterra altogether. The so-called cooperative clearly isn't working in the best interest of farmers, the general public or our export markets. It's time for a change.