I wonder how we would feel if a Chinese company operating in New Zealand were found to be responsible for the death one baby and made another 432 sick with kidney damage? Then the Chinese Premier steps in to defend the company, whose subsidiary had known about this for 6 months, and hopes that its reputation will not be tarnished. Oh, and the Chinese Trade Minister (or equivalent title) suggests that maybe the poisoning came from a different company all together. Meanwhile local New Zealanders all take the blame and the criminal responsibility for the incident.
Fonterra’s response to it’s subsidairy Sanlu Group, which had been using melamine (a substance used in plastics, fertilisers and glues and flame retardants) to make its milk powder protein levels appear higher, has human as well as economic implications.
Baby milk powder is one of those products that, thanks to huge multinational domination of the market, consumers have very little purchaser choice in any more. Which makes food safety and consumer choice that much more important. TVNZ reports:
Fonterra refused an interview. But the company should be fronting up, according to food safety advocate, Sue Kedgley.
Basically, in a situation like this, it is incumbent on Fonterra to be open and upfront. Depending on the level of Fonterra’s involvement, there are potentially very serious repercussions for Fonterra’s global reputation,” says Kedgley.