Dairy multinational Fonterra confirmed this week that the US Food & Drug Administration has inspected two of its New Zealand manufacturing sites as part of the agency's moves to step up vigilance of all major food manufacturer's exporting foods to US markets, reports Dow Jones.
The move comes following the attacks of 11 September and the perceived threat of bioterrorism to the US food supply chain. In October last year the country fell under the threat of anthrax, which many scientists believe could also be spread through food supplies.
Fonterra said that its facilities passed the inspection with "flying colours," adding that the FDA was impressed by the product safety, hazard analysis and control programs that its NZ Milk Products unit has in place.
"Successful inspections are critical to the New Zealand dairy industry as the FDA has the power to stop products being imported into the US," Fonterra said in a statement.
A team of 25 quality coordinators spent six months preparing the production facilities for the inspection. The team had to ensure that all security and safety measures carried out in the production facility were water tight and met with US FDA guidelines.
Fonterra, currently the world's fourth-largest dairy company by revenue, accounts for a fifth of New Zealand's annual goods exports and about 7 per cent of gross domestic product.