The Fonterra plant distributing milk with an "unusual" taste to the lower North Island is on Makomako Rd in Palmerston North.

Milk from several lower North Island supermarkets was withdrawn from sale last week, because customers complained of an unpleasant taste. The milk was dark blue top, in two brands with best before dates from June 22 to 27. It has now been replaced with other milk.

Fonterra Brands New Zealand managing director Leon Clement said the milk was not unsafe to drink and the unusual taste clearly pointed to a feed issue.

"It's because, at this time of year when grass levels are low, cows are sometime fed brassica like turnip or swedes. When cows consume too much of this feed it can have an impact on the taste of the milk they produce."

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The matter has been thoroughly investigated by Fonterra.

There is no issue with the Fonterra plant. The unusual taste of the milk develops over time, and it was already on its way to stores before the taste could be detected.

Mr Clement was not able to say how many litres have been withdrawn from sale, but said they would be returned to Fonterra depots and disposed of correctly.

Pak 'n Save and New World supermarkets will not be charged for the milk that has been withdrawn, and they have been offering customers who bought it refunds or replacements.