The New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association said some members have had orders reduced or halted after a threat to contaminate product was made public.
“They’ve had some of their distributors reduce their order volumes and put on hold some of their orders, but there’s been no ban,” NZIFEA Chairman Michael Barnett said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It’s very much wait and see.”
Police said on Tuesday they’re investigating an anonymous threat to poison infant formula with the toxic 1080 pesticide unless the government stops using it by the end of this month. It comes after a botulism scare in 2013 prompted a global recall of some New Zealand dairy products and an import ban by China until it was proved to be a false alarm.
Baby formula exports are worth NZ$389 million ($282 million) a year, according to ASB Bank, less than 3 percent of New Zealand’s total dairy exports of NZ$14 billion. China is the biggest customer.
The latest incident “has the potential to be disastrous for exporters, whether they be big or small, because it’s reputational risk,” Barnett said. “It’s about food and it’s about New Zealand.”