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DCD concerns: NZ handling of crisis was ‘textbook’ - Rabobank

By Mark Astley , 21-Feb-2013
Last updated on 21-Feb-2013 at 18:11 GMT2013-02-21T18:11:34Z

New Zealand’s handling of concerns surrounding the use of agricultural chemical dicyandiamide (DCD) was “textbook,” a Rabobank analyst has claimed.

Rabobank dairy analyst Kevin Bellamy spoke with DairyReporter.com in the wake of today’s ‘all clear’ from the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

According to the MPI, 1,994 DCD tests were reported for milk and milk products made since June 2012. DCD was detected in 371. The last sample to test positive was made on 12 November 2012. The 602 samples analysed since 13 November 2012 contained no trace of DCD.

The announcement represents the latest attempt by stakeholders to reassure exporters about the safety of Kiwi dairy products. Fonterra and the MPI have made numerous efforts to prevent the spread of concerns – despite DCD never actually being considered a food safety risk at low levels.

Dairy analyst Bellamy has applauded Fonterra and the MPI for their efforts.

“Handled in an exemplary way”

“Fonterra was very straight forward about the issue, and they offered reassurances at a very high level,” said Bellamy.

“These results are part of what needed to be done - the government and the dairy industry have reassured their customers that safeguards are in place.”

“They have been very open about itIt was a textbook way of doing things.”

Bellamy added that while concerns about the agricultural use of DCD in New Zealand won’t be forgotten, the country’s quick clean-up of the situation will be remembered.

“People will keep it in mind of course. But it will also be remembered as a case of how to handle things.”

“This whole issue has been handled in an exemplary way,” he added.

No “effect on demand”

DairyReporter.com initially spoke with Bellamy just a week after the sale and use of DCD was suspended in New Zealand. At the time, Bellamy admitted that it would be “difficult to say” whether exports would suffer as a result of the issue.

“It turns out there never was going to be a tremendous effect on demand,” said Bellamy earlier today. “Dairy prices at GlobalDairyTrade actually continued to go up despite the issue.”

In a statement accompanying the compiled test results, the MPI said that it had passed on its findings to exporters.

“We are releasing the core findings of the testing today to be as open as we can be with our markets and customers, despite the fact the quantities of DCD found in our dairy products creates absolutely no food safety risk whatsoever,” said MPI director general, Wayne McNee.

“These findings confirm our expectation. We have informed markets of them.”