PM, Fonterra reject DCD milk health fears

Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.

Launch Radio player

Prime Minister John Key has swung in behind Fonterra in saying New Zealand dairy products are safe after some were found to contain traces of a nitrate-reducing chemical.

The reports have been widely circulated in the world media and have described the chemical, dicyandiamide (DCD), as “toxic.”

The Wall Street Journal, for one, has just carried a report balancing out its original story with denials from Fonterra that there is any health risk.

This morning, Mr Key has described these reports as misinformation and says the DCD traces have been found only at Fonterra's Clandeboye plant in South Canterbury.

He says he “was totally confident [the industry] was on top of it as it is not a health issue.”

A person would have to drink an amount equivalent to a swimming pool to be in any risk from the chemical, he adds.

Meanwhile, Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has reiterated that the products of the world's largest dairy exporters are safe.

"We have strong science and we are providing assurances about the safety of our product," he said in an emailed statement to the Bloomberg new agency.

"Our testing has found only minute traces of DCD in samples of some of our products. Our products are safe. Customers can rest assured."

Earlier, the Ministry of Primary Industries said DCD was being used only by about 500 of the country's 12,000 dairy farmers.

The ministry announced sales of fertiliser containing DCD had been suspended, a move that has been criticised by local councils and environmentalists because it inhibits the leaching of nitrates into water.

"New Zealand's reputation is based on the high quality of food we produce," said Carol Barnao, the Ministry of Primary Industries’ deputy director of general standards.

"Because no standard exists, the detectable presence of DCD residues in milk could be unacceptable to consumers and our international markets, even in the small amounts found in recent testing."

In some countries there was a zero tolerance for residues when no standard existed.

The ministry is investigating the process to have a maximum allowable residue level set, if necessary, but this could take more than five years. It is also in a working group with the fertiliser and dairy industries to investigate future use of DCD.

Fonterra, Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ all welcomed the decision to stop use of DCD.

However, Local Government New Zealand expressed concern at the suspension of DCD, which is intended to help minimise the environmental footprint of farms by improving water quality and reducing greenhouse gas liabilities.
 


9 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

9 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Another example of our P.M.'s poor communication skills and lack of understanding of any point of view other than his own! It would take far less than a litre a day over an 80 year period to indeed consume the contents of a reasonable-sized swimming pool - it is not an unthinkable prospect...

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

It would be better for Mr '100% Pure' Key to keep out of this matter. Fonterra has considerable credibility, but Mr Key has sold his earlier on in the BBC interview where he declared that there was no issue with the cleanliness of NZ waters (the reason for DCD being present in the milk: there was in fact an issue with dairy effluents) . Responsible news media (e.g. The Guardian, New York Times) now view him as suspect on environmental issues.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The apparent testing regime adopted by Fonterra means that they actually cannot confirm what is or is not in their products until well after it has been sold and potentially consumed.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Most farmers who use DCD are in Canterbury, where the researchers who developed the use of DCD are based in.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I'd trust Kim Dotcom on this subject more than I would anything John Key has to say.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Dicyandiamide in your milk powder and meat or global warming blowing through your hair?

Envirowhacks get their scare-control power either way.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The DCD usage was to allow dairy farmers to overstock and over-fertilise their land, thus exceeding the soil's ability to absorb the additional nitrogen.
It is simply inappropriate land use.
The environment movement opposes that. And very few buy the CAGW hypothesis now that the science has been revised.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

We're not informed which products contain DCD, whether farmer stockpiles are being used presently and/or recent past with irrigation, whether these products are or have been fed directly to dairy cows after being added into feeds such as palm kernel and grains to lift rumem activity. Whether dairy farms using these products are supplying niche companies and are therefore not having the dilution factor of big dairy factories. Still far too many questions and smoke and mirrors.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

If traces of the chemical have been found in the milk, what level is still in the cow and does it dissipate eventually or will the levels get higher the more affected grass the cow eats, so what is it going to do to humans in a longer period of time?
The saddest part is that Fonterra chose to hide the results from September so it did not effect the share options offered late last year. If it is harmless as they say then how come manufacturers have suspended sales and Fonterra was not honest and open with their findings?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.6339 -0.0030 -0.47%
AUD 0.9040 0.0002 0.02%
EUR 0.5655 -0.0026 -0.46%
GBP 0.4145 -0.0016 -0.38%
HKD 4.9131 -0.0230 -0.47%
JPY 76.4580 -0.3580 -0.47%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1133.1 -6.200 2015-09-02T00:
Oil Brent 51.3 0.930 2015-09-02T00:
Oil Nymex 46.9 0.840 2015-09-02T00:
Silver Index 14.7 0.050 2015-09-02T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5590.2 5633.4 5590.2 -0.37%
NASDAQ 4704.4 4750.0 4636.1 2.46%
DAX 10060.3 10122.3 10015.6 0.32%
DJI 16058.4 16352.6 16058.4 1.82%
FTSE 6058.5 6161.7 6058.5 0.41%
HKSE 21101.4 21288.5 21185.4 -1.18%
NI225 18359.5 18481.6 18095.4 1.42%