China’s quality watchdog on Monday said it has asked New Zealand authorities to present a detailed risk assessment report on dairy products after potentially harmful chemical residue was found in them.
The latest development came after milk produced by New Zealand’s dairy giant Fonterra Cooperative Group was found to contain residue from dicyandiamide (DCD), a chemical used on pastures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to keep nitrogen from entering waterways.
Although New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries has assured consumers that the “very low levels” of DCD found in the country’s dairy products do not pose food safety risks, the news has prompted concern among sensitive Chinese consumers, as New Zealand dairy products account for nearly 80 percent of China’s import market.
In response to consumers’ concerns, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said it has met with New Zealand’s Ambassador to China Carl Worker and asked for a more detailed report from New Zealand authorities.
Fonterra Cooperative Group was once a shareholder of Chinese brand Sanlu, which became the center of a notorious scandal in 2008, when Sanlu’s melamine-tainted protein powder resulted in the deaths of at least six babies and sickened 300,000 others.