Fonterra milk scare: Global reaction

By Patrice Dougan

A toddler plays in the imported baby products section while his parents purchase baby products in a Beijing supermarket. Photo / AFP
A toddler plays in the imported baby products section while his parents purchase baby products in a Beijing supermarket. Photo / AFP

Headlines around the world are highlighting the Fonterra contaminated milk powder scandal, in a blow to New Zealand dairy's international reputation.

News organisations in countries affected by the botulism contamination have been among those reporting the story, as well as those across the United States and Britain.

Three days after the news broke that baby milk formula could contain traces of the deadly bacteria, many were switching their focus to the impact the scandal will have on the nation's dairy industry, its clean image and consumer confidence.

"... the survival of New Zealand's $9.4-billion dairy trade is under threat," said the International Business Times, under the headline, 'Recall of Nutricia's Karicare Gold Over Botulism Scare; China Bans NZ Milk Powder Imports'.

Others also said the industry could be under "threat" from the scare, which has also been described as a "blow" to the economy, particularly after China banned milk products from New Zealand.

Business website Bloomberg chose the headline: "China halts Fonterra milk-powder imports in blow to NZ."

In China, where Karicare products from New Zealand have been banned since Sunday, the state-owned news agency, Xinhua, has reported a number of stories on the contamination scandal. Xinhua has also focused on the damage caused to New Zealand's clean, green image.

"For a long time, New Zealand has marketed its products overseas as being '100 per cent pure', and this has been especially true of its dairy products," said Xinhua. "However, Fonterra has had a series of problems and this is beginning to shake the confidence of some Chinese consumers in its '100 per cent pure' milk powder."

Others were predicting the ban on New Zealand milk products could lead to a milk shortage in China.

The story has been reported across the Asian continent, from the Times of India to the Bangkok Post and the Taipei Times since it broke at the weekend.

Saudi Arabia's Arab News has also reported that the kingdom could be affected by the tainted milk recall.

The BBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, and Australia's The Age and Sydney Morning Herald have all covered the story.

Australian outlets have focused on safety fears and the impact to the Kiwi dollar.

Most stories were topped by headlines combining "dairy", "New Zealand" and "botulism".

- NZ Herald

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