Fonterra has defended itself after authorities in China caught a group of people repackaging the company’s milk powder for sale after the expiry date.
Chinese police have arrested 19 people in Shanghai after a months-long investigation into the milk racket. Police believe the suspects were allegedly managing a company which repackaged expired Fonterra products into smaller packages for resale at below market rates, according to Chinese local media.
Following the arrests, authorities seized 100 tonnes of expired milk products and shut down the company’s websites where the products were sold.
Fonterra spokeswoman Maree Wilson says it supports the action taken by Chinese authorities. She says, “The Chinese authorities have acted strongly and swiftly to investigate and arrest the people they believe are responsible for this and we fully support their actions. We work actively with our direct customers to ensure the integrity of our products. This includes providing guidelines on how to manage expired product in a responsible way.
“In this case there appears to have been criminal activity much further along the supply chain. While we believe this is an isolated criminal incident, we are reviewing the case internally.”
Wilson says the milk powder was not resold with Fonterra packaging and it was not aware of anyone falling ill as a result of consuming the expired product.