New Zealand’s Minister of Economic Development says consumer worries in Sri Lanka about Fonterra milk powder are a local issue but the New Zealand Government is working to help resolve it, Radio New Zealand reported.
More than 750 Fonterra staff have been told to stay home following a protest outside one of the dairy giant’s factories in Colombo on Thursday.
Consumer fears arose after a Sri Lankan union succeeded in getting a court ordered two-week ban on the company selling milk powder which the union said was tainted with the agricultural chemical dicyandiamide (DCD).
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says it’s too early to know what impact the ban will have on Fonterra’s future in the Sri Lankan market.
He says the company is acting responsibly and the Government is working with it and the authorities to resolve safety concerns.
Lincoln University Professor of Agribusiness Keith Woodford says the issue is a political one that has got out of hand.
He says Fonterra has found itself in a situation it has little control over.
Professor Woodford says it is likely Fonterra’s business in Sri Lanka will return to normal once the situation cools down.
He says the Government should send a minister to Sri Lanka as soon as possible.