New contamination scare for Fonterra

Fonterra is caught up in another contamination scare, this time recalling fresh cream over fears it may contain the E.coli bacterium.

Fonterra Brands NZ today conducted a voluntary recall of 300ml and 500ml bottles of Anchor and Pams fresh cream with a best before date of 21 January 2014, distributed in the North Island from Northland to Turangi, including Gisborne.

The recall involves 8700 bottles of fresh cream that had been distributed to retail and food service outlets.

Fonterra Brands NZ managing director Peter McClure said the voluntary recall was being done because quality tests had shown E.Coli may be present in some Anchor and Pams bottles of cream with a best before date of January 21, 2014.

"We are sorry for the inconvenience and concern this recall might cause but food safety and quality are our top priorities, Mr McClure said.

People were advised not to consume the product and to return it to where they bought it for a refund.

If they require further information, they should contact Fonterra Brands' customer service centre on 0800 256 257.

The recall did not affect any other Anchor or Pams products.

E.Coli bacteria normally live in the intestines of humans and animals and can be carried in faeces. Although most are harmless, several are known to produce toxins that can cause diarrhoea.

In August last year, Fonterra caused panic after it suspected that 38 tonnes of whey protein, some of which was used to make baby formula, had been contaminated with a botulism-causing bacterium.

It was later found to be a false alarm but not before Fonterra customers had recalled a huge amount of baby formula products worth millions of dollars and New Zealand dairy imports were banned or restricted by China and other markets.

New Zealand's reputation as a safe source of dairy products was tarnished during the botulism fiasco, particularly in China which is a big consumer of New Zealand-made baby formula.

Danone, the parent company of baby formula-maker Nutricia, has begun legal proceedings here seeking compensation after it recalled infant formula products in eight countries during last year's scare and put the cost of the recall at $576 million.

Fonterra made a $14 million loss provision for the 2012/13 financial year to take into account the impact of the botulism scare.

Affected batch numbers:

Product Batch Number Best Before Date

Pams Cream 500ml 1400684206 21/01/2014

Anchor Cream 500ml 1400684207 21/01/2014

Anchor Cream 300ml 1400684208 21/01/2014

Pams Cream 300ml 1400684209 21/01/2014

- Lucy Bennett

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