Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully during his visit in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 22, 2013. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
BEIJING, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday urged New Zealand to properly resolve the botulism contamination crisis at its dairy giant Fonterra.
During talks with New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, Wang said safety scares involving New Zealand dairy exports have attracted extensive public attention in China.
"The incidents involve food safety and relate to the health and interests of Chinese consumers, so the Chinese government must adopt a serious attitude towards the issue," he said.
Fonterra has been the subject of two international food safety alerts this month, with the worst case being whey protein concentrate shipped to customers at home and abroad contaminated with bacteria that can cause botulism.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that a shipment of Fonterra-made lactoferrin was stopped in China in May after Chinese authorities found it contained excessive levels of nitrates.
Lactoferrin made by rival New Zealand firm Westland Milk Products was also the subject of a recall in China this month for the same reason.
"China hopes that the New Zealand authorities will continue to pay high attention to these incidents, properly resolve relevant problems, so as to guarantee the interests of Chinese consumers and avoid similar crises in the future," said the foreign minister.
McCully said the New Zealand government will strictly implement its commitments to ensure the quality of its dairy exports to China as well as meet food safety standards.
New Zealand will not tolerate its enterprises making mistakes in this regard, he said.
He said relevant dairy exporters should immediately recall their faulty products in an open, transparent and strict manner.
The New Zealand government has launched the most rigid investigation into the incidents and will inform China of the results as soon as possible, so as to restore the confidence of Chinese consumers in New Zealand products, he said.
New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is looking into interim measures to strengthen consumer assurances around the country's dairy production.
The measures include stepping up the regulatory presence in manufacturing premises, improving and increasing testing across dairy production, and running simulations to test the industry's ability to track products through their supply chains.
The MPI will also step up reviews of risk management plans that dairy producers drew up for their manufacturing plants.
McCully is visiting China from Tuesday to Thursday at the invitation of Wang.