Export certificates revoked after nitrate found in dairy ingredient sent to China

Export certificates revoked after nitrate found in dairy ingredient sent to China

Content supplied by the Ministry for Primary Indistries

The Ministry for Primary Industries has revoked export certificates for four consignments of lactoferrin manufactured by Westland Milk Products following the detection of levels of nitrate that exceed the New Zealand standard.

Lactoferrin is a naturally occurring protein found in milk.

The consignments were derived from two affected batches of lactoferrin manufactured by Westland at its Hokitika factory.

One batch was exported directly to China as an ingredient for other dairy products by Westland, and the second batch was supplied to Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company, and also exported to China.

MPI has been advised by Westland, Tatua and their customers, that a small proportion of the lactoferrin was used in consumer products.

Almost all of these products are now confirmed as detained in the supply chain.

There was no affected lactoferrin used in products in New Zealand.

“MPI’s technical experts have looked closely at this issue and believe any food safety risk to Chinese consumers is negligible because the quantities of lactoferrin used in consumer products was very small, meaning the nitrate levels in those products would easily be within acceptable levels”, MPI acting director-general Scott Gallacher said.

"MPI, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the companies concerned are working closely with the Chinese authorities on this issue,"

“MPI has sent a team to the Hokitika factory to confirm how this problem arose, and verify the problem is limited to just the two batches identified. It appears to be so, at this time.”

“The consignments exported to China were accompanied by official export certificates stating that the product complies with New Zealand and China’s regulatory requirements. This was based on testing of composited batches undertaken at the time of manufacturing, which showed no issue. We now know that is not the case and certification has been withdrawn,” Mr Gallacher said.

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Not unexpected.
Pressure on to be super sure.
Quin said that, based on investigations to date, it appeared to be an isolated incident in the lactoferrin plant only where traces of cleaning products - which contain nitrates - were not adequately flushed from the plant prior to a new run of product.
And production from everywhere greatly increased.
For example even these now mention worthy nzx-wise:

Canterbury milk nutrition company Synlait Milk had a minor fire in one of

its boilers at its Dunsandel plant on the evening of Sunday 28 July 2013.

All automated systems functioned properly and the fire brigade were alerted directly when the smoke sensor was activated in the boiler facility.

Several fire appliances were at the scene on standby.



What is this now, 4-5 quality failures in a relatively short time?  This points to a serious systemic quality system failure.  It will will not be fixed by 
Knee jerk reactive measures
Soothing words
Firing people
What is required is a long term commitment to scutinise and commit to continuous quality improvement in all stages of the milk production process, from all farm inputs, to when the products leave the shop shelf.  This will not take five minutes; infact it should never end. 

It appears that both Fonterra and Westland shipped the stuff out first before testing them. Wouldn't it make more sense to test first before it gets shipped? This way, if a problem is detected by the test, the stuff doesn't leave the factory and no bad publicity.