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‘No reports of injury’ says Fonterra after massive butter recall

By Ben Bouckley , 14-Feb-2012

Fonterra has recalled 410,000 packs of butter after consumer complaints about the presence of ‘fine metal objects’, and has moved quickly to limit fallout from the incident.

A Fonterra spokeswoman told DairyReporter.com that FBNZ (Fonterra Brands New Zealand) had undertaken a voluntary recall as a precautionary measure “as there can be no compromise to product quality or the health and safety of our consumers”.

She added: “The recall follows two isolated complaints received from consumers who had found a fine metal object in their butter product. There have been no reports of anyone being injured.”

Two isolated complaints

Two isolated complaints were received a month apart, the spokeswoman said, with the most recent complaint received on February 9.

The recall relates to 500g packs of Mainland Salted Butter and Anchor Salted Butter with the respective batch codes ‘Batch CV12’ (best before date January 10) and ‘Batch CV28’ (best before date January 26).

The spokeswoman said that packs subject to complaints were produced at Fonterra’s second largest New Zealand manufacturing site in Whareroa on the North Island.

According to the firm’s website, the facility is also the nation’s largest butter plant, making enough butter weekly to fill nearly three rugby pitches with 500g blocks.

The products were sold in New Zealand alone, and the company said that none of its other brands were affected. “There’s a thorough investigation underway [as to the cause of the metal’s presence],” the spokeswoman said.

Warn family and friends

Peter McClure, FBNZ managing director, said: “We advise anyone with family or friends who may have bought this product to contact them in case they do not see or hear this announcement.”

FBNZ said consumers should not consume the products in question, but should return them to the point of purchase with their packaging for a refund.

The company added that it had issued food recall notices in daily newspapers across New Zealand this week, while the relevant authorities had been notified.

The Whareoa facility also produces Mozzarella cheese for around 7.8m pizzas per year, and its five dryers convert milk into instant whole, skim and butter milk powers.

In addition to its butter plant, the site also houses two cheese-making facilities that produce products for retail and food service sale.

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