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New Zealand dairy backs product in China hormone scandal

'Disappointed' Australia to fight New Zealand apple ruling
Sydney (AFP) Aug 10, 2010 - Australia Tuesday said it would appeal a ruling which overturned a 90-year ban on New Zealand apple imports, insisting it was based on legitimate disease fears. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Monday found Australia's ban dating from the 1920s breached global rules, and challenged its reasons for blocking the fruit. But Canberra said there were "adequate grounds to appeal the decision". "We are disappointed that the WTO panel found that the import risk analysis underpinning Australia's requirements for New Zealand apples is not sufficiently supported by scientific evidence, and also that the requirements are unduly trade-restrictive," said Agriculture Minister Tony Burke.

"Australia has vigorously defended its science-based quarantine system throughout this dispute. The government is committed to maintaining the integrity of Australia's quarantine regime," he added. Australia first introduced the ban in the early 1920s over an outbreak of fire blight, a disease affecting fruit trees. Burke said it also targeted European canker and insect infestations. Canberra lifted the outright ban in 2006, but imposed conditions so strict that New Zealand said it made exports uneconomic, prompting the WTO complaint in 2007.

New Zealand claims fire blight cannot be spread through clean, mature apples. The country's Trade Minister Tim Groser said the WTO ruling was based on extremely thorough independent analysis and "settles any debate". Under the WTO's plant and human health rules, any restrictions on trade must be based on a proper assessment of the risks using internationally recognised methods, as well as "relevant" scientific evidence. Australia's Burke said the appeal's outcome could be known by the end of 2010, and until then existing arrangements would remain in place. New Zealand growers estimate exports to Australia could be worth 36 million US dollars a year.
by Staff Writers
Wellington (AFP) Aug 11, 2010
New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra said Wednesday it is "100 percent confident" in its milk supplies to a Chinese company under investigation over claims of tainted milk powder.

Parents and doctors in China's Hubei province have expressed fears that hormones in milk powder produced by Synutra International have caused young girls to develop breasts prematurely.

Synutra said the questionable milk powder was all imported from New Zealand.

Fonterra confirmed in a statement that it supplied milk powder to Synutra, but said it was not the only supplier.

"Fonterra is a supplier of milk powder to Synutra International but we understand Synutra sources some milk locally and imports whey powder from Europe," the statement said.

"Fonterra remains 100 percent confident about the quality of its products."

The company said New Zealand has strict legislative controls on the use of "Hormonal Growth Promotants" and they are not allowed to be used on milking cows.

"The strict controls mean that it is not necessary for New Zealand milk or milk products to be routinely tested."

China's health ministry has ordered food safety authorities in Hubei to investigate claims that milk powder has caused infant girls to grow breasts.

Medical tests indicated the levels of hormones in three girls, ranging in age from four- to 15-months and who were fed the same baby formula, exceeded those of the average adult woman, China Daily reported on Monday.

A fourth case was reported in Beijing, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Synutra insisted in a statement that its products were safe and that no man-made hormones or illegal substances had been added during production.

Fonterra also owned a major stake in the Chinese dairy company Sanlu, which was at the centre of the 2008 melamine contamination scandal in which babies died after drinking infant formula.

Melamine was found in the products of 22 Chinese dairy companies in a massive scandal blamed for the deaths of at least six infants and for sickening 300,000 others in China.




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Group urges protection of seed bank
St. Petersburg, Russia (UPI) Aug 9, 2010
The largest European gene bank of fruits and berries is threatened by development that could destroy irreplaceable biological heritage, environmentalists say. The Global Crop Diversity Trust is urging the Russian government to step in and protect a valuable crop collection near St. Petersburg from developers' bulldozers, a trust release said. The Pavlovsk Experiment Station's fie ... read more

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