The threat of eco-terrorism against Fonterra’s supply of infant formula in New Zealand forced a Trading Halt Request in relation to Fonterra Shareholders Fund (FSF) this week on the Australian Stock Exchange, and at the same time, the New Zealand Stock Exchange has requested all listed diary entities to suspend trading.
The criminal threat is related to the New Zealand Government’s use of Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) poison as pest control to protect the country’s native flora and fauna and was originally made in November 2014. Since that time it has been the subject of an ongoing police investigation.
Upon receipt of the threat Fonterra moved immediately to secure its supply chain and protect customers. Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said, “We have taken immediate and decisive steps to give our customers and consumers added confidence – including increased testing and security measures.”
Fonterra’s testing regime includes testing all paediatric products and nutritional base powders it manufactures (and has manufactured since 1 September 2014). “Fonterra is testing all raw milk that it processes – testing every tanker”, Mr Spierings added.
Together with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Fonterra has established a validated testing regime that is being used by the dairy industry for both raw milk and dairy products targeted by the threat.
Mr Spierings said the criminal threat targeted New Zealand and the entire dairy industry, “We can fully assure our customers and consumers that all of our milk and products are safe and of high quality, and our supply chain continues to be secure and world-class. We are playing our part in helping the Government manage the criminal threat, as is the rest of the dairy industry”.
MPI Deputy Director-General Scott Gallacher said, “We are confident that New Zealand infant and other formula is just as safe today as it was before this threat was made. People should keep using it as they always have. New Zealand’s food safety model is among the best in the world. New Zealand manufacturers maintain high levels of security as a normal routine. Security and vigilance has been significantly increased since this threat was received.”
Mr Gallacher said, “The combined MPI and industry testing programmes confirm there is no 1080 in infant and other formula. We have tested just over 40,000 raw milk and product samples and we have had no 1080 detections”.