Massive protest against Fonterra in contamination scandal

Friday, 23 August 2013 01:46 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Hundreds in Sri Lanka gathered outside the factory of Fonterra yesterday (22) to protest against the world’s biggest dairy exporter for continuing to sell their protests despite a court ruling against it. New Zealand’s Fonterra had to apologise for a milk powder contamination scare in China after contaminated whey protein concentrate had been sold to China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Saudi Arabia and used in products including infant milk powder and sports drinks. The company said on Thursday a shipment of powder had also been halted at the Chinese border in May after tests showed nitrite levels higher than allowed in China, although it had been approved for export after testing in New Zealand. Nitrites occur naturally in water, soil and food and can be used as fertilisers and preservatives. Excessively high levels can be toxic. The district court in Gampaha earlier had banned the sale and advertising of all Fonterra milk products for two weeks, following a complaint by a health sector trade union that the company’s marketing was misleading. Lawyers representing the health sector trade union said despite the court ban, Fonterra continued to distribute its milk powder products to retailers last Saturday (17 August) and distributed leaflets on Monday (19 August) saying its products were still fit for human consumption. The protest in Seeduwa in western Sri Lanka was organised by the National Freedom Front led by cabinet minister Wimal Weerawansa. “They are not taking our Judiciary seriously. Fonterra is not taking any notice of the independence of the Judiciary. They don’t accept the decisions of the Judiciary, they are violating those judgements and are continuing to do business. The same way we defeated terrorism, we must also defeat Fonterra and save our children,” National Freedom Front’s spokesman Mohamed Muzzamil said. Officials from Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka were not available for comment. Wellington has voiced frustrations over Fonterra’s foot dragging in disclosing the contamination issue, and during a visit to China on Thursday, Foreign Minister Murray McCully sought to distance the country from Fonterra’s woes. Earlier this week, Fonterra’s much smaller competitor, Westland Milk Products, had export certificates revoked for a small quantity of the protein lactoferrin because of unacceptable levels of nitrates were discovered in four consignments.