INDIA – The government of India has further extended the ban on milk and its product imports from China including chocolates, candies and other confectioneries based on food safety concerns.

The ban, imposed from 22 June 2017 to 23 June this year has now been extended to December 23 covering ‘food preparations’ with milk or those using milk solids as an ingredient.

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Food Navigator reports the extension was recommended by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) who established that it remains until safety of the products is guaranteed through reports and supporting data.

“The ban for three months was imposed as an interim step to enable other (government) departments to put in place suitable measures to restrict import of contaminated milk products in the country,” said Madhavi Das, chief management services officer, FSSAI.

Melamine contamination

India first imposed the ban in September 2018 when it was reported that some milk consignments from China were contaminated with melamine, a toxic chemical used for making plastics and fertilisers.

Therefore, a decision concerning the ban would be determined by the end of the current extension of the ban based on the results of scientific testing to be done on the products.

This will be announced by the relevant authorities.

Speculations have it that the decision by the government of India is to benefit the local dairy industry, which is facing a surplus of stock in milk cooperatives.

India, the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk, however does not import milk products from China, but has imposed the ban as a preventive measure.

The country’s milk production increased from 137.68 million tonnes in 2013-14 to 146.31 million tonnes in 2014-15, according to India Today.

June 28, 2018

Greenpeace links NZ’s dairy giant Fonterra to deforestation in Indonesia

ASIA- An investigation by Greenpeace, an environmental organisation based in Netherlands has alleged that Fonterra’s key supplier of palm kernel extract (PKE), Wilmar International has links to alarming deforestation in Indonesia.

The report says clearance of tropical rainforest for palm plantations has contributed to climate change and loss of habitat for endangered animals like the orangutan.

Fonterra, mentioned as a key contributor to destruction of rainforest and cow feed, imports PKE, a product made by the palm oil industry for supplementary feed.

“The international reputation of NZs dairy industry is seriously on the line here and so are the world’s last remaining rainforests,” said Gen Toop, Greenpeace’s sustainable agriculture spokesperson.

“This revelation again implicates NZ’s dairy industry in deforestation in Indonesia.”

Wilmar denied the links to the deforestation saying it has engaged with and will continue to engage with Greenpeace on the issues raised in the report.

In May, Fonterra said it had adopted a new standard for sourcing of palm products as part of its commitment to sustainability following discussions with Greenpeace as a way to strengthen its existing sustainable palm products sourcing procedures.

Responding on the matter, a Fonterra spokesperson said to the FoodNavigator, “All PKE is sourced from Wilmar International, who was the first to implement ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation’ and has a strict ban on deforestation and Exploitation of labour. Fonterra has been a member of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil since 2010. “Fonterra has been working with and has become a member of The Forest Trust (TFT), a leading NGO supporting sustainability transformation in the palm industry. Together, we are evaluating the performance of our palm products supply chain and compliance with our standard. Working with our vendors, we have confirmed 96.7% traceability to mill.

Traceability to mill helps ensures we know where the PKE is sourced from and to identify any potential high-risk areas or any non-compliance.”

PKE becomes popular feed

According to Greenpeace, New Zealand is the world’s largest user of PKE, bringing in a quarter of the global supply.

Through its Farm Source stores, Fonterra sells approximately one third of the PKE that is used in New Zealand.

Use of PKE for feeding dairy cows is one of the recent innovations in the industry to enhance efficiencies and development of economies.

Traditionally, New Zealand farmers rely on fresh grass to feed their cows and grow/make their own supplementary hay, silage and forage crops for times when there is less grass, with the use of supplementary feeds like corn and dried distiller grain being minimal.

Since its discovery about 10 years ago, PKE imports have grown enormously and are now run at more than one million tonnes per year, and according to USDA, this is over a third of the 4.86 million tonnes global trade of PKE.

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