November 9th, 2012
Well, if New Zealand is going to bank its future on dairy exports to emerging markets in Asia, the first line of this article should be cause for alarm:
AQSIQ released a list of substandard imported food products, of which over half come from Australia and New Zealand.
This ain’t a good look, especially when it’s infant formula:
26 tons of New Zealand’s Orkloland Super Gold infant formula were required to be recalled because the iodine content did not reach the national standard.
ORKLOLAND?!?!?!? The Chinese name sounds quite normal, but Orkloland looks, sounds and feels weird, and that google.co.nz search makes it sound even weirder. The Companies Office doesn’t seem to have heard of it. Ah, here we go, it’s a trade mark registered to East Tree International Trading Limited, whose sole director is one Hailin DU, and whose address seems to place it in a residential-looking area of Auckland. One does have to wonder how 26 tons of infant formula, substandard or otherwise, originates in a house in a very ordinary-looking suburban Auckland street. Looking through Food Safety’s list of registered dairy exporters, I see neither East Tree nor Orkloland, nor Ioland, which the Companies Office says is East Tree’s trading name, nor Hailin DU. I’m also failing to find a registered dairy exporter with the same address as East Tree. The Companies Office doesn’t list an email address, so I can’t compare that with the email addresses on the list of registered dairy exporters.
And now I’m wondering: Is this Orkloland/奥兰 for real? Is it actually produced in New Zealand? Is it legally exported? From the information I’ve found, I really don’t know.
And the article’s last paragraph is interesting. It says that before the melamine incident there were only 5or 6 domestic [presumably Chinese] companies that had registered milk powder brands in countries like Australia and New Zealand, but that number jumped to over 20 after the melamine incident.
“Three or four years ago there were only five or six New Zealand milk powder brands, but since then the number of New Zealand milk powder brands has exploded to over 20, and most of the newly registered milk powder brands find local [presumably New Zealand] companies to produce for them then specially import it to the Chinese market,” dairy product expert Wang Dingmian told this reporter.
Should I interpret that to mean that Fonterra partner Sanlu getting caught doctoring its milk with massive amounts of melamine and every other Chinese dairy company other than Sanyuan caught with at least some melamine in their products launched a rush of Chinese businesses to New Zealand to source milk powder from a “safe” country? Am I to take it that not all of these businesses are entirely scrupulous, that they’re happy to trade on New Zealand’s clean, green image, but not so keen to make sure their products live up to that image? This has me worried.