100% Pure no more

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Fonterra_Main

It astounds me that it has taken 15 months before Fonterra’s management even cottoned on to the fact that 38 tonnes of whey protein concentrate was contaminated with a bacterium that causes botulism, a toxin that can lead to paralysis and death. Why was there such a huge delay of five months between testing in March this year showing a problem and Fonterra doing anything about it? That’s five months while 900 to 1000 tonnes of contaminated food was produced and then distributed throughout New Zealand and the world.

But what is perhaps even worse is the way in which the public was informed about the contamination. Conveniently taking the focus off the government spying scandals, first we were told that it was only two batches of Nutricia Karicare Infant Formula Stage 1 for babies and Stage 2 Follow-on Formula for children that was potentially contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Four days later we learn that it’s all batches of those two products as well as a number of other Fonterra based products that should be avoided.

On Tuesday, John Key claimed that hospitals were now being monitored for any cases of botulism, even though the clean up crew of Steven Joyce and Tim Groser had previously said the contaminated products hadn’t made it onto shop shelves. Did the Prime Minister forget that only two days earlier his buddies had claimed the contaminated products were contained? They informed us all the contaminated product had been isolated to a couple of warehouses and a cargo ship. Why would the government be monitoring hospitals for cases of botulism if that were true? To make matters worse, on Monday we learned that Hospitals have been using potentially contaminated baby formula in their neonatal intensive care units and children’s wards, clearly showing that the contaminated product wasn’t isolated at all.

According to the government, they and Fonterra are being totally transparent about all this. In fact the government has held numerous press conferences to inform the public they have everything under control and are handling the situation perfectly. The left might not be trying to capitalize from the huge amount of fallout surrounding this issue, but that isn’t stopping the government grandstanding and taking every opportunity to appear the concerned hero. Unfortunately all they’ve managed to do is make a number of inaccurate statements and produce a couple of incorrect public health warnings about what products to avoid. Pathetic!

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Why the frack can’t our largest exporter and the government get it right and inform the public properly when things go wrong? Instead, there is the distinct stench of bullshit in the air.

In my opinion, Fonterra is just as incompetent and liable as the government. Once again they’ve tried to hide the fact their product is unsafe for human consumption. This latest fiasco is similar to the melamine contaminated baby formula that killed numerous babies in China. In that case Fonterra knew their product had been poisoned but failed to notify the Chinese public properly. Such terrible mismanagement was also displayed when, earlier this year, New Zealand officials pressured Sri Lanka to suspend testing of New Zealand milk powder samples for radionuclides. One has to wonder if Fonterra’s milk products have already been contaminated by landfarming, a practice where waste from the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells, contaminated with hydrocarbons, chemicals, heavy metals and quite likely radioactive particles, is disposed of by spreading it onto land where cows graze.

Clearly New Zealand has been badly tarnished by such events. Ongoing contamination alerts, like the milk powder containing the lethal agrochemical Dicyandiamide (DCD), are effectively making our 100% Pure brand worthless. In that case documentation obtained by the Green party showed the Ministry for Primary Industries new about the DCD contamination on October 30 last year but waited until January 24 this year before informing the public. That’s three months while the government came up with a public relations strategy; a plan that included numerous press releases claiming DCD at the levels detected were perfectly safe. Conveniently for them an unsuspecting public had already consumed the entire potentially hazardous product, so no further testing was available.

We should expect nothing less than complete transparency and honesty when we’re talking about people’s lives being put at risk by contaminated food. Let’s not beat around the bush…Fonterra and the government deserves a good kick up the backside for these ongoing problems. Clearly, the time for diplomacy has ended.

6 COMMENTS

  1. This must be the first Government in New Zealand history to be pleased that the country’s largest exporter is experiencing a global PR disaster. It gives them a chance to do what they do best – bark aggressively at someone else, so they look good, at the same time as taking the focus off them breaking the law of the land re spying

  2. I’ve been trying all week not to go around making jokes on the internet about the toxic effects of tory males from the heartland and what happens when they don’t clean their pipes often enough.

    Too late.

  3. The DCD product made by Ravensdown was still being promoted to farmers in Dec 2012, I’ve got the cuttings from the farming paper to prove it. Over at homepaddock blog the right wing spin is that this is a ‘scare’ not a ‘scandal’ and apparently completely different to melamine.

  4. What’s the best thing to come out of all this – I think maybe an admission (Blinglish … no no no – Moreece Williamson I think [RNZ re earthquake strengthening et al] that policy enacted cannot hold future gubbamints to its implementation. The only REAL problem is just how furure gummamints want to show their supremacy, their legitimacy as representatives of the public will, their appeal to electorate aspirations (rather than their own), and their understanding of democratic principles.
    (Maybe even their “learnings” – not sure if this is in anyway different from ‘lessons’, but so far the Natzis/Chief Kon-mists/spin-meisters and others seem to be telling us about ‘learnings’. I’m thinking that a soon as the great GOD Theo [Tey Yo] uses it – it’ll be a question of YES/NO Bs) bullshit

    We know the majority of NuZulluners were posed to esset sales – speshly Moighdy Riv Pear, nex on the block Mrideen.

    Bess thing cumvit is thet futcha gummints ken ledge=slate; use same ‘free meerkat prince pulls” to do what is ekshly in the Bess Intrust of the Nuzull sitzchin [Sit Still]. It’ll js show what the level of kmitmint Labor [note the minus ‘u’] has. (I’d love to meet Bess Intrust btw – she searnzz like quoitda gal!!!)

    We’ll see whether Labour ekshlsy has testeronic balls or whether Clare Curran style ‘bitch-slap capability’ ekshly still exists – or is it all talk and no substance; whether (bearded or un-bearded Dave Cnut needs NO additional force; [lost cause Shearer – even his philanthropic UN cheevmunts cudn’t shudn’t wudn’t hev kerred but for those showing more loyalty towards him thet he was, AND, will never be capable of returning] …. we’ll see whether they up to the mark!.
    So far – I think not!.
    Fucking great effort from RNZ’s discussion though ‘tween the Blinglish and Clayton C this morning. -‘The reality is’ though REALLY – there goes the MINIMUM level Labour faces for an awakening of the Sleepy, and an assertion that Labour is still a viable alternative.
    I was surprised (best of British! and all that to the once owning 1300 CC Vauxhall Viva Kethluck gurl – the BBC awaits! should esprayshuns tickle a fensy – there’s even a ( John) Soplized juicy Lucy Hockings who’d put you up for a week or two. (In any case – one of the Bess Effits yet).

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the Sleepy Hobbits will only waken when a viable alternative exists. Well done Clayton C this morning, and some others (particularly D.C). That’s because they’re SO disenchanted with politicians, spin, lies, the ‘Helen Clarke style pragmatism’ that was once used for a Nation’s welfare, BUT that is now used in SELF-interest’, shoves itself up its own arse.

    (Pardon the ramble – but there’ll be NO Labour vote – or even ANY consideration of it from me – after a lifetime – and with, on my last count – votes in the 20-somethings of whanau) until there’s a bit more of the Clayton’s performance this morning; the ability for DC to freely and fairly say what he thinks; either the ditching of Shearer, or some really really SPECTACULAR improvement; and, AT LEAST some formal acknowledgement that neo-liberal policies have failed, are not in NZ’s best interests, and are NOT something that the NZ Labour Party see as a viable ideology to pursue.)

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