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Current as of 02/04/15 07:40PM NZST

Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Two more countries join ban

Dairy giant Fonterra and the Ministry of Primary Industries are scrambling to reassure other trading partners that New Zealand dairy products are safe after Belarus and Kazakhstan joined Russia in banning the company's products because of the ongoing botulism scare.

A spokeswoman for Trade Minister Tim Groser yesterday confirmed the two nations had placed "temporary restrictions" on Fonterra products, as Russia did last week.

Asked whether Fonterra was concerned about other countries following suit, Fonterra communications director Kerry Underhill repeated the company's earlier statement on the bans.

"We are continuing to work closely with New Zealand's Ministry of Primary Industries to reassure our customers, consumers and trade partners that New Zealand dairy products are safe."

While Russia's total dairy trade with New Zealand last year topped $213 million, the Kazakhstan and Belarus bans will have little direct effect on export receipts.

Dairy trade with Kazakhstan last year was worth just $621,216 while that with Belarus was "virtually nothing", Mr Groser's spokeswoman said.

"We have not been advised of any other market closures," Mr Underhill said last night.

The Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus bans are understood to apply to goods produced at 61 Fonterra plants but not to those from 10 others.

Fonterra yesterday said it had supplied none of the batch of whey protein concentrate which may be contaminated with botulism-causing bacteria to the three countries.

In addition, no Fonterra products sent to those countries used the affected product as an ingredient.

Fonterra was working closely with the authorities of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to reassure them of its products' safety.

- NZ Herald

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