Chinese regulators moved to tighten supervision of New Zealand dairy imports in the wake of a second product recall today (19 August).
The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China, the country’s safety watchdog, revealed it has suspended imports of lactoferrin from Westland Milk Products. The move followed confirmation the company had exported two batches of the ingredient containing elevated nitrate levels.
The Chinese authorities said they would now also require Westland to provide nitrate test reports on all other products it imports into the country.
The AQSIQ has said “all other companies” that export lactoferrin from New Zealand will also be asked to provide nitrate test reports.
The regulator called on the New Zealand government to conduct a “comprehensive inspection” of production facilities, enterprise management systems and products that are destined for China “to ensure safety”.
The New Zealand government said it revoked the export license for the affected Westland lactoferrin after the company informed the Ministry for Primary Industries tests had found nitrate levels that exceeded New Zealand standards. The MPI stressed the health risk to Chinese consumers is “minimal” but confirmed it is in contact with the Chinese authorities on the issue.
The recall comes hot on the heels of a high-profile safety scare when New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra sold a whey powder contaminated with a bacteria that can cause botulism to eight customers in various markets, including China. In China, the ingredient sparked consumer recalls of infant formula produced by Danone and Abbott Labratories.