Russia, trade allies ban Fonterra products

Russia and two of its biggest trade allies have confirmed they are banning all Fonterra products for now after the botulism scare.

A spokeswoman for Trade Minister Tim Groser says Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have temporarily banned the import and sales of Fonterra products.

Russia had indicated previously that it was planning some action after 38 tonnes of whey protein, produced last year, was contaminated with a bacteria that could lead to botulism.

The spokeswoman says Kazakhstan and Belarus are part of a customs union with Russia and it was unsurprising it would take the same path as Russia.

New Zealand’s total dairy trade to Russia in 2012 was more than $213 million, while it was about $620,000 to Kazakhstan that year. The spokeswoman said dairy trade to Belarus was “virtually nothing”.

China recalled the affected product but continues to import all other Fonterra dairy goods.

The government is holding a ministerial inquiry into the scare. The Ministry for Primary Industries is also investigating, while Fonterra is holding two inquiries.

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