News of the threat to contaminate New Zealand infant formula with 1080 poison had barely registered in Chinese media last night - and expatriate Beijing business adviser David Mahon believes it is unlikely to gain traction.

"There's one food industry website that has noted it but it's not in social media or mainstream media," said Mr Mahon, who has advised numerous New Zealand firms, including dairy exporter Fonterra, on entering the Chinese market.

"Tomorrow some translations of what's been in the New Zealand press will be posted here, but it's unlikely to run," he said from Beijing. "The Chinese Government, that has quite a control over even social media, would probably shut it down and stop its progress. It will be seen for what it is, which is a crank of some form.

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"The Chinese Government does have confidence in New Zealand's supply chain in dairy. Its problems have been more about the bungling of communications around botulinum [the 2013 false scare over botulism contamination] and to some extent DCD [in 2012, involving a nitrate uptake inhibitor used on grasslands]. There's been no major scandal relating to Fonterra having contaminated product so I don't think there is an issue."

A search of Weibo, China's version of Facebook, last night showed little interest, and those who did comment were more concerned about the threat to New Zealand than the milk.

"There are unscrupulous people everywhere," said one user.

At New Zealand's online Chinese community site, SkyKiwi, comments also circled around whoever was behind the act.

"[If] this person threatens to put poison in powder milk to kill children, I hope this person will be caught," said one person.

Fearful mum will stock up

Worried mother Eva Chen said she will be stocking up on baby formula following the threat to contaminate infant milk powder.

"I have two babies who still depend on formula milk so I will just be going out and get as many as I possibly can," said the 34-year-old, originally from Taiwan.

"I am so worried after reading the news, I thought such things only happen in China and not in New Zealand."


Ms Chen, a mother of four, runs the Chinese family services at the Wellbeing Charitable Trust, and provides support for new Chinese mothers. "It is no consolation that the police are saying the threat is low, because it is still a threat," she said.

"The lives of my babies are too valuable and important for me to take any risk."