Fonterra hails border testing system

World News: Fonterra this morning has said it fully endorses and complies with the practice of country of origin and country of destination testing for all of its products.

In a statement, its group director of food safety and quality, Ian Palliser, said testing across each point of the supply chain is best practice for Fonterra and for all global food businesses.

“Testing food products before they leave New Zealand, and again when they arrive at their port of destination, provides essential food safety assurance. It also enables rigorous testing by both New Zealand and the destination country, while the product is still fully within Fonterra’s supply chain.

“There are times when test findings differ between country of origin and country of destination. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including changes in product conditions during shipment, and different laboratories and testing methodologies. In these situations, the product is held, and the relevant companies and regulators work together to agree next steps,” Palliser said.

In reference to the 42 metric tonnes of Fonterra milk powder that did not meet China’s testing standards reported in May 2013, Palliser said this was an example of the border testing system working well.

“The product was tested before leaving New Zealand and met specifications. It was then shipped to China, where local tests showed it no longer met specifications. The product was immediately put on hold and regulators in both China and New Zealand were informed.

“The product remained 100 per cent within Fonterra’s control, did not enter the Chinese market and there was no food safety risk involved.

“Border testing is an open and transparent process, and is a standard part of the international food trade. In China, a list of all non-compliant products is published each month on a government public website,” Palliser said.