September 8th, 2012
So yesterday’s email (ran out of time and energy to write this up last night) news alert shows up three things of not exactly positive interest to New Zealand. Substandard milk powder, fake New Zealand milk powder, and antibiotic use at kiwifruit orchards.
First up, the substandard milk powder. CNTV (i.e. China Central Television’s website) has a report from China News saying that Hong Kong’s Da Kung Pao reports that a batch of New Zealand milk powder was found by Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety to contain low levels of iodine, potentially endangering the health of babies who drink it. CFS’s food alert is here.
The fake New Zealand milk powder report I find a little odd because it is on a site called Qinbei/亲贝网. I’m quite familiar with the baby products company 贝亲, and we’ve used lots of their stuff, but 亲贝? Hadn’t heard of that one before.
The article looks at milk powder marketed in China by 南京艾尔优先食品有限公司 as Cambricare, and quotes its official website (which I believe is that link there) as saying:
Cambricare New Zealand Ltd exclusively sells milk from natural New Zealand farms. Supplies nature and safety to China’s numerous consumers, real original packaging imports, selling quality dairy products in step with New Zealand. This Cambricare milk powder brought in to China is identical to the milk powder sold in New Zealand. It’s the same batch, supplying the New Zealand and China markets at the same time.
Yes, I know, I could’ve done a much better job of the translation. But the key claim is that it’s the same as milk powder being sold in New Zealand, from the same batch, even. Qinbei then did a bit of research, looking up Cambricare in the companies register, and found it was established on 14 November 2008, its address is 50 Hastie Avenue, Mangere Bridge, Auckland, and the shareholders are Ming GONG and Xuqi WU. But there’s something odd in how Qinbei presents their names:
明宫（Ming GONG）、徐其武（Xuqi WU）
A bit of confusion over which, precisely, is the surname and which the given name? ALLCAPS generally suggests surname, but Qinbei has taken the first syllable of each name as the surname. Odd.
Qinbei alleges 50 Hastie Avenue, Mangere Bridge, Auckland traces to a residential address, and that a Chinese person residing in Auckland was dispatched to check it out, finding no sign of Cambricare. Well, let’s have a look. I can’t actually see a number 50 there, but the numbering does suggest that it would be on the south side of the road, which, judging by Street View, is light industry (although Street View suddenly tells me I’m at “30 Hastie Ave – address is approximate”. Approximate, indeed). I certainly can’t see any sign of Cambricare, but I also can’t tell if #50 would be in that large Carter Holt Harvey complex or somewhere just to the west of the intersection with Mahunga Drive.
The Companies Office confirms that address (and the other details), but also gives 19 Mahunga Drive as the address for service. On Street View I can only see New Image International at that address. I can’t see a link to Gong, Wu, or Cambricare in the Companies Office’s register.
A regular Google NZ search for that address has the map with that address as #1, and the cambricare.co.nz site Qinbei alleges is actually registered to 南京艾尔优先食品有限公司, the Nanjing based “importer”. But a Google NZ search for Cambricare gets that same Cambricare website at #1, but #2 is Cambricare milk powder on sale in Countdown for $12.99 a packet. Considering Countdown is one of New Zealand’s biggest chains, I’d be very surprised if they were selling fake products. Further down we find news that Cambricare won a lawsuit filed by Nutricia, makers of Karicare. Curious.
And who, precisely, is Qinbei? Unfortunately their Baidu Baike page reeks to me of having been written by Qinbei’s own marketing department. Well, Baidu, ’nuff said. And I really can’t find much more information.
All very strange, indeed.
And now antibiotics at kiwifruit orchards. Pharmacy.hc360.com says that the New Zealand media has reported that 45 kiwifruit orchards have been illegally spraying their vines with antibiotics to prevent the spread of the Psa virus. Ah yes, here’s a TVNZ article about it from August 26. But that says they were injecting their vines with streptomycin. And to cast a little more doubt on the quality of pharmacy.hc360.com’s reporting:
Psa is a bacterial canker of kiwifruit caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae.
So, um, not a virus, and something which an antibiotic is useful for treating. Even so, it is worth noting that people in New Zealand’s export markets do actually notice what goes on in New Zealand. Clean, green, huh…