Fonterra has run out of chances - China diplomat

“Three times and you are out," says embassy man as Fonterra suffers third issue in five years.

Fonterra has run out of chances with Chinese consumers after its third food safety issue in five years, says a Chinese Embassy councillor.

The Economic and Commercial Councillor for the Chinese Embassy, Zhang Fan, told TV3’s The Nation that Chinese consumers were questioning why Fonterra kept making mistakes.

“They are asking: ‘Why is always something wrong with Fonterra?’ As they say in Chinese: ‘Mistakes should not be repeated again and again’.

“Three times and you are out.”

Fonterra’s latest botulism scare comes after a DCD contamination issue earlier this year, and the melamine scandal in 2008, in which a company part-owned by Fonterra sold milk and infant formula tainted with the poisonous chemical.

Mr Zhang said the Chinese government and general public attached a lot of importance to food safety issues.

“It’s a kind of life or death issue for the common people.”

“The Chinese consumers in the past week were in a kind of state of anxiety and deepest concern because they are afraid their only child may be consuming the product which is probably contaminated.”

But Mr Zhang said if the issue was dealt with appropriately, normal trade between the two countries could resume.

“The position taken by the Chinese government is pretty clear.

“First pinpoint the root of the issue, then run a very thorough independent, just investigation, and then fix the issue right, and we can see the normal trade happen again.”

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