China is examining imports of infant formula from New Zealand, one of the country’s biggest dairy suppliers, in the wake of a safety threat, The Wall Street Journal reported.
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement Tuesday it is requiring New Zealand companies importing milk powder to have government certification and an importers’ examination proving the safety of the products.
“We are still working through with the Chinese authorities on the precise nature of what they’d like to see,” said Scott Gallacher, deputy director general of New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries, at a news conference Thursday.
But he said the government would have no problem certifying the formula, as it is confident all exports are safe, the report said.
New Zealand informed China and other trading partners that an anonymous threat had been made to poison infant formula, but they insist the risk of it actually happening remains low.
Police said Tuesday unidentified people sent threats to Fonterra Cooperative Group — the world’s biggest dairy exporter — and industry lobby group Federated Farmers that they would contaminate formula with a potentially deadly pesticide.
The threats, sent in unsigned letters in November, said action would be taken if by the end of March the country failed to outlaw the use of a poison, known as 1080, to kill pests such as rabbits, stoats and possums, the report said.
New Zealand officials and dairy enterprises are taking extra security measures to prevent poisoning, China said.
Gallacher said Chinese authorities had told the ministry they knew of no consignments being held up as a result of this criminal blackmail threat.
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