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Fonterra recalls fresh cream on E. Coli scare

Fonterra faces another contamination scare, this time involving E. Coli

The company is recalling 300ml and 500ml bottles of Anchor and Pams fresh cream with a best before date of 21 January 2014, distributed in the North Island from Northland to Turangi, including Gisborne. 

The recall involves 8,700 bottles of fresh cream that have been distributed to retail and foodservice outlets.

Fonterra Brands NZ Managing Director Peter McClure said the voluntary recall is being done because quality tests have shown there may be the presence of E.Coli in some Anchor and Pams bottles of cream with the 21 January 2014 best before date.

E. Coli is the name of a germ, or bacterium, that lives in the digestive tracts camera of humans and animals.

There are many types of E. Coli, and most of them are harmless. But some can cause bloody diarrhea.

Consumers are advised not to consume the affected Pams and Anchor product and to return it to the place of purchase for a refund. If they require further information, they should contact Fonterra Brands’ customer service centre on 0800 256 257.

The recall does not affect any other Anchor or Pams products, Fonterra says.

The affected batch numbers are:

  • Pams Cream 500ml (batch number:1400684206), best before date:  21/01/2014
  • Anchor Cream 500ml (1400684207),  21/01/2014
  • Anchor Cream 300ml (1400684208), 21/01/2014
  • Pams Cream 300ml (1400684209), 21/01/2014

Last week, French food processing giant Danone filed a High Court claim over last year's whey concentrate scare. Fonterra says it will vigorously defend the action.

Comments and questions
13

There is something wrong under the bonnet of Fonterra, you can forgive an occaissional misstep but this is becoming an ongoing feature of one trip after another. I am certainly pleased that I sold my shares at close to $8.00

Time to appoint some replacement directors and executives with proven records of superb governance and culture change. The current team have failed on both counts.

How come Anchor and Pams products are affected. Could they, per chance, be the same product - sold at different price points?

Yes.

Pams is a house brand.

The Pams range of products is the exclusive brand of the Foodstuffs group of companies http://www.paknsave.co.nz/saving-ideas/house-brands-pams/

And more often than not these 'house brand' products are produced by the same supplier as the leading brands, identical in every way, but relabelled and sold in volume to allow the 'exclusive' retailer to discount the end price.

Sounds right to me.

Store-brand goods are generally cheaper than national-brand goods, because the retailer can optimize the production to suit consumer demand and reduce advertising costs.
...
Private branding means a large distribution channel member (usually a retailer) buys from a manufacturer in bulk and puts its own name on the product. This strategy is generally only practical when the retailer does very high volume of sales. The advantages to the retailer are:
more freedom and flexibility in pricing
more control over product attributes and quality
higher margins (or lower selling price)
eliminates much of the manufacturer's promotional costs
The advantages to the manufacturer are:
reduced promotional costs
stability of sales volume (at least while the contract is operative)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Store_brand

It clearly starts at Board level ...

Fonterra has become too big for its own good. A warning for the meat industry - Keep clear of the Fonterra model.

Virtually all fresh, or live foods have some level of E. coli presence. Unless you eat totally sterile food you consume some every day.

It is also the primary indicator organism used in a vast array of food quality testing programs. It is only when levels exceed given regulatory levels that it is deemed likely to present a health risk. Without revealing what the level is (usually n/100 ml.) and with the usual journalistic hype omitting all relevant detail the public is once again subjected to unnecessary anxiety. In this case the situation is exacerbated by a lack of any substantive information. Fonterra could do well to table the facts and temper its response policy with a little more wisdom.

Indeed ... but looked at another way it could be an opportunity ...

The most commonly used indicator for assessing for faecal contamination within water ways is E. coli. ... E. coli is a faecal coliform bacterium that originates in the gut of warm bodied animals and indicates the presents of other potentially harmful microbes. ... The ANZECC guideline for E. coli levels in rivers is 126 E-coli per 100ml.
http://geog397.wiki.otago.ac.nz/Impact_of_Dairy_Farming_on_Water_Quality#E._Coli_Levels

E.coli and dairy farms:

Fonterra Brands managing director Peter McClure told Radio NZ the E coli was "very unlikely" to have come in with the milk from the farms and it was "almost impossible" that the contamination could have been deliberate.

However, he said he did not want to speculate on how the contamination happened.

McClure said E coli contaminations were "very rare" and this was the first time in at least 18 years that a Fonterra product had tested positive for the bacteria.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/dairy/9607286/Fonterra-confirms-E-Coli-present

The most commonly used indicator for assessing for faecal contamination within water ways is E. coli. Faecal contamination is a major health risk to humans and other species if they come in contact with a significant amount of faecal matter. Faecal matter can make its way into water ways via runoff from the land or effluent pond discharges or stocks defecting directly into the waterways, all of these methods are primarily related to dairy farming. ... One of the major contributors to bacterial contamination is probably that of effluent irrigation when soils are at or near saturation. As a rule of thumb, irrigation has been said to not exceed the water-storage capacity of the soil (Otago Regional Council, (b)). If the irrigation level rises above the water-storage capacity of the soil this will result in a toxic river that will be more susceptible to algae blooms. Overall dairy farming is a major contributor to the E. coli levels within rivers in New Zealand.
http://geog397.wiki.otago.ac.nz/Impact_of_Dairy_Farming_on_Water_Quality#E._Coli_Levels

Perhaps some of our envious competitors/critics are contaminating Fonterra products to create this situation? Food security makes all in our world vulnerable.

Dairy products priced out of people's reach? What are the nutritional consequences?

Fresh milk prices rose 2.7 percent in December, and were up 9.4 percent on the year. More expensive dairy products were the main driver of the annual increase in food prices, with yoghurt up 10 percent, cheese up 7.7 percent and other milk products up 10 percent.
http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nz-food-prices-fall-third-month-cheaper-veges-milk-gets-more-expensive-bd-150708

In 2011 controversy arose over the retail price of milk leading to an enquiry by a government select committee and a small scale price war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy_farming_in_New_Zealand#Milk_pricing