2009-02-21

Fonterra melamine scare over iron supplement

Diary giant Fonterra has endured a second tainted milk powder scare after a supplier advised that melamime had been found in an iron supplement.

Group director manufacturing and supply chain Gary Romano said German-based company Budenheim told Fonterra an iron supplement it supplied to food companies worldwide had tested positive for melamine.

Fonterra used small quantities of the iron supplement in 12 fortified whole milk powder products.

Fonterra immediately stopped all production using the supplement and undertook extensive testing of the affected batches.

"No melamine had been detected in any of its products," Mr Romano said.

"Fonterra has calculated that, given the small amount of iron supplement used in some of its products, if melamine was present in the finished product it would be at levels 50-100 times lower than the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) guideline.

"Based on all current world standards there is absolutely no health risks to consumers."

The NZFSA guidelines allowed for 2.5 parts per million and regarded any concentration below 0.1 parts per million as a negative result.

Budenheim was supplying Fonterra with a new iron supplement product which had tested negative for melamine.

Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson said Fonterra had advised the Government on February 11 of the Budenheim problem.

"Melamine has been detected in an imported ingredient used to fortify food with iron in New Zealand but consumers are not at any risk," she said.

Two tests on the raw ferric pyrophosphate found unacceptable levels of melamine but testing of the final Fonterra product showed no detectable trace.

"As a result of the investigation, I am certain there are no safety concerns for consumers," Ms Wilkinson said.

"All the necessary precautions were taken and the authority implemented the risk management strategy put in place last year to address melamine concerns quickly and effectively."

Companies worldwide are on the alert for melamine contamination after it was added to milk powder in China in a scandal which left six babies dead.

A Chinese court sentenced to death cattle farmer Zhang Yujun, 40, and milk trader Geng Jinping for the contamination, which also left hundreds of thousands of infants ill.

The contaminated milk powder was produced by Sanlu, a company 43 per cent owned by Fonterra, which has written off its $200 million investment.

A third man, Gao Junjie, was given a death sentence for endangering public safety, but it was suspended for two years, and may be commuted to life in prison.

The chairwoman of Fonterra's Sanlu venture, Tian Wenhua, 66, will also spend the rest of her life behind bars as well as being fined 24.7 million yuan ($5.6 million).

She learned of problems with her company's BeiBei milkpowder from consumer complaints around mid-May of last year but the company did not stop producing and selling formula until about September 11.

- NZPA
Sourced New Zealand Herald Website

Further reading: - media release from Fonterra below

Fonterra confirms no melamine in its products

Fonterra today announced one of its suppliers, a German based company called Budenheim, had advised Fonterra that an iron supplement Budenheim supplies to food companies around the world had tested positive for melamine. Fonterra uses very small quantities of the iron supplement in 12 fortified whole milk powder products.

Fonterra said it had immediately stopped all production using the supplement and was sourcing a replacement product. In addition, as an added precaution Fonterra had undertaken extensive retesting of retention samples of the affected batches of Fonterra’s milk powder products.

No melamine had been detected in any of its products.

Fonterra is working with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and progressively reviewing each batch of product to ensure that the product is safe to go to market. Extensive and intensive research has been undertaken throughout the world to determine appropriate food safety levels for melamine. The products in question are all well within New Zealand, Australian, European and American safety standards.

Group Director Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Gary Romano, said: “based on all current world standards there is absolutely no health risks to consumers.

“Budenheim advised us last week that testing of the iron supplement, called Ferric Pyrophosphate, had detected melamine levels above the regulatory limit. The product is commonly used to provide additional nutritional value in food.

“The New Zealand Food Safety Authority guidelines for these products is 2.5 parts per million, and the Authority regards any concentration below 0.1 parts per million as a negative result.” he said.

Fonterra has calculated that, given the small amount of iron supplement used in some of its products, if melamine was present in the finished product it would be at levels 50 – 100 times lower than the NZFSA guideline.

Budenheim supplies Ferric Pyrophosphate to a number of food companies around the world. The iron supplement helps the development of red blood cells.

Budenheim is supplying Fonterra with a new iron supplement product which has tested negative for melamine and no further production of the relevant WMP will be undertaken until the new iron supplement is received.




Possible India Free Trade Agreement ‘massive’ for farmers

“Federated Farmers applauds the news that New Zealand is to commence negotiations with India for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA). India represents a massive opportunity for all New Zealand’s farmers,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“While we know this is going to take time, India, being the World’s second fastest growing economy offers almost unlimited potential. Current exports of around $366 million are the tip of a very large trade iceberg.

“With $60 million of wool exported each year India represents a ‘green fields’ market for sheep meat. Sheep meat is widely consumed and unaffected by religious dietary requirements where meat is consumed.

“Aside from being the second most populous nation on earth, English is the principal language of business and India shares a common legal as well as social bond with New Zealand. They know New Zealand and a multilayered approach to exports, from high to low value goods, is within our grasp.

“Last year, the Wall Street Journal estimated there were some 100,000 millionaires in India with a massively expanding middle class estimated to be 300 million strong. The prospect of an FTA means the sky really is the limit,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

Children’s Day goes country with Federated Farmers Farm Day

“Federated Farmers invites families to celebrate New Zealand’s International Children’s Day by visiting the country for Federated Farmers Farm Day on 1 March,” says Frank Brenmuhl, Federated Farmers vice president.

“This day will be a great opportunity to show children what real farmers do each day, every day of the year. It will be an adventure for the whole family to enjoy. At some host farms, children will learn how cows are milked and crops are harvested. While on other farms, they will discover the different types of sheep that exist. New Zealand’s bees and goats will be on show in some parts of the country as well.

Federated Farmers Farm Day is being held on 27 farms throughout New Zealand. Each host farm will offer fun and safe activities to entertain children of all ages (see below to find out what’s planned in local areas). For parents, it will be a chance to see and experience where their food and fibre comes from. Real farmers will be on hand to guide visitors around the farms and answer any questions people may have.

“From Molesworth Station, the country’s largest working farm, to an organic goat milk farm in the Waikato, Federated Farmers Farm Day has something to offer every family. Families will have the chance to visit dry high country farms or lush frequently flooded paddocks. They can head along to a farm near the city or to some of the most unique farms in the country. The website www.farmday.org.nz provides directions to each farm using GoogleMaps, making it easier for people to find their way to a Federated Farmers Farm Day,” Mr Brenmuhl continued.

“Farms are a fascinating place for children. This is why so many famous children’s stories have been set against a rural background. Federated Farmers Farm Day is a chance to build on these stories so they come alive in the imagination of children,” Mr Brenmuhl concluded.

New Zealand’s International Children’s Day, which coincides with Farm Day on 1 March, is a national event encouraging adults to spend time with children. What better way to spend the day than out on the farm with them?

Below is a list of activities for children to enjoy at each of the 27 Farm Days taking place across the country between 10am and 3pm on Sunday, 1 March.

Visit www.farmday.org.nz to find out more about Federated Farmers Farm Day.

Back in the Shed after calf nineteen springs a suprise on Dairy Farm Owners


Some cows are lucky after their useful life is over. Most old Dairy cows once they're past their productive life have a one way trip to the works and end up as sausages on someone's dinner plate. Not for Grandma though. The article above appeared in the Rural Advocate today. I've retyped it here so it's easier to read

Super Gran does it again!

After a long and productive life, Grandma - a cow in dairy farmer Gordon Kirkham's herd - was retired and put out to pasture.

But, unbeknown to anyone, the mother of 18 offpsring still had a twinkle in her eye and when she met a much younger, abeit injured, hereford bull a fulfilling, though brief romance ensued that came to light only very recently.

Mr Kirkham and the mamanger of his Waikato farm, Darius Culpan, said they had been discussing how well Grandma was looking, and that she seemed to looking exceptionally good on the the extra meal she'd been eating since she was put out to pasture.

"We joked about why she was doing so well, and even the possibility she was in calf," Gordon said. "However we'd retired her - she deserved it - and we thought she was 'past it'."

"We did put in a young injured bull with her for a short time. We called him Bentley because his knee was bent, and with the affirmities they both shared (her age and his disability) it never occurred to us that romance would blossom between the two of them."

But then, the reason for Grandma' good health emerged - her 19th calf!

The average New Zealand dairy cow has around five or six lactations/calves in her lifetime.

Grandma, a predominantly Holstein Fresian daughter of LIC Sire Maniapoto AB Mustang, was born in 1988. Over ensuing years she proved herself to be a reliable and fertile cow with a high production worth of 198.

After proving so convincingly that she wasn't 'past it', Grandma was returned to the herd, coming into the shed once a day with her much younger counterparts.

Gordon and Darius who milk 1600 dairy cows on 500ha (2.5 acres approx to 1 ha), they still planned to retire the old cow - provided she was ready to give up on romance.

- From the Rural Advocate

2009-02-19

Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 7

Distance shot of Auckland City with the Ports of Auckland Shipping Terminal in the foreground.

Close up of the Container ship Patrica Schulte docked at the container terminal ready for unloading. She wasn't a small ship either here's her details below
Ship Type: Cargo - Hazard A (Major)
Year Built: 2006
Length x Breadth: 221m X 30m
DeadWeight: 39400 MT
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 19.7 / 14.3 knots
Flag: Germany [DE]
As we headed towards Devonport across the harbour several container ships were in port. This is the MV Taiko from the Wallanius Wilhelmsen line a roll on roll off container ship. Here's her details
Country: Norway
MMSI Number: 258693000 Length: 262.0m
Callsign: LAQT4 Beam: 32.0m

And last but not least one more shot back over to Auckland City before we headed off towards Devonport. Part 8 next......

Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 6

Moving just past Queen's Wharf the city skyline dominates the waterfront. It could be anywhere in the world and yet each city has it's own identity. Auckland has the Skytower and the Vero Insurance Building to dominated the city skyscape. The Vero Insurance Building is the tallest one in the centre of the photo. Auckland is undergoing yet more changes as more buildings are being constructed and older landmarks restored and in some cases demolished. During the 1980's many valuable heritage buildings met a sad end with the wreckers ball to be replaced by ugly glass towers inhabited by power dressers with brick mobile phones. I would walk past an empty lot where once a grand old building had once stood and wonder why it had been allowed to happen. Years down the track some of those decisions made by councils past are no longer being made. Now our buildings are being protected. A good thing glass towers have no soul.

Pulling away from the port area a yacht passed over the the Ocean Eagle's wake its owners no doubt enjoying an afternoon's summer sail. In the background on the right is the cruise ship Millenium, centre behind the yacht is Queens Wharf and the Sky Tower over to the far left. Auckland is known as the City of Sails and for a good reason. Go down to the waterfront on a warm day and you'll see the harbour full of sailing boats catching the breeze. My ex-husband and I used to go to Mission Bay just a little further over and sail a 15 foot catamaran each weekend. I do miss it - it was a great boat and fast. Part 7 shortly........

2009-02-18

In between the Big Smoke Posts I killed my mouse...

I killed my mouse early this morning with a cup of cheap coffee. The mouse...died and I had no way of using my computer!!!! Der brain here should know better than to have cheap coffee at 4 am in the morning and in the dark to boot. I like my cheap coffee keeps the brain cells going in the am when a deadline is supposed to be met and the brain refuses to think of anything beyond the word "the" Writing an article about the with the who went to the the doesn't sound very appealing to me. Now I have a new mouse of whom I shall treat with great kindness and not attempt to kill with cheap coffee anytime in the next twenty four hours normal posting can resume. I'll get back to it now and avoid the coffee for a while as in two minutes that is.......

2009-02-17

Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 5

Passing by the revamped Princess Wharf the stern of the Millenium looms into view. Her huge size has attracted a lot of attention and why not when she is such a stunning vessel.
The large tug tied up along side of her was tiny in comparison to her huge size and yet it had towed her so easily into port....
And just on the other side is the wonderful Auckland Ferry Building. No longer in use for the purpose that it was built for, but thankfully lovingly restored ,and one of Auckland's most special landmarks. The Fuller's Ferrys to Devonport and other destinations around the Auckland Harbour can be seen taking on passengers for the next trip over. Here's the history behind this wonderful old piece of early 20th century New Zealand Commercial Architecture as written by Martin Jones from the Historic Places Trust

The Ferry Building is one of the most imposing port buildings in New Zealand, and testimony to the importance of water transport in early twentieth-century Auckland. Erected by the Auckland Harbour Board in 1909-1912, this ornate structure was intended to be a focus for the extensive ferry network entering and leaving the city. It was also intended to raise a regular income for the harbour board, as it was designed entirely for lease. Its construction was part of a costly reorganisation of the docks, which included the building of the ferro-cement Queen's Wharf. These works were undertaken by the city in a bid to retain its position as a leading Southern Hemisphere port.

Designed to reflect the aspirations of the project, the imposing facades of the four-storey building were modelled in the Imperial Baroque style. Its prominent central tower was a focus of harbour life having a time ball, later replaced with a clock and siren, to regulate activity on the wharves. The building initially housed the headquarters of the two main ferry operators in the harbour - the Devonport Steam Ferry Company and Takapuna Tramways Ferry Company. Later tenants included trade unions and consulate offices. The construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in the 1950s dealt a major blow to maritime activity on the wharves, after which the building deteriorated. It was refurbished in 1986-1988, when its interior was gutted, strengthened and converted to office and retail use.

The Ferry Building is significant as a striking and monumental piece of architecture, whose scale reflects the importance of civic authorities in the early years of the Dominion (1907-1947). It is a powerful reminder of the importance of ferry transport in the early twentieth century, and the role played by the wharves in the social and commercial life of the city, particularly until the 1960s. It is of value as tangible evidence of the dock improvements undertaken in the early 1900s, and as one of the earliest office buildings in Auckland built entirely for lease. It is also significant for having been a familiar landmark for nearly 100 years, instilling a sense of place and identity in the everyday lives of Aucklanders travelling in and out of the city over several generations. The Ferry Building's valuable visual contribution to the city's waterfront is enhanced by its proximity to other historic structures, including those in the surrounding Harbour Historic Area and nearby Quay Street Historic Area.

- Historic Places Trust NZ

Part 6 next.........

Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 4

Leaving the Viaduct Harbour you can see all the apartment developments in the background. On the left are all the big charter boats and yachts. Got loads of stash, charter one of them and go around the New Zealand coast and see the sights. But if you're broke like I am, well just accept the invitation to a harbour cruise instead.LOL!

Now out of the Viaduct Harbour and passing the rear of the Auckland Maritime Museum. The old steam crane Rapaki now now moored at the end of the Maritime Museum has a history all of its own. She's a great old boat and interesting enough to take a closer look at: Here's her info from the NZ Maritime Record

Dimensions
Length 51.82m
Breadth 15.91m
Depth 3.69m
Draught (unladen) 1.96m
Draught (maximum) 3.46m
Tonnage (Gross) 762 tons
Tonnage (Displacement) 1415 tons
Engines Two 400 IHP vertical, 2-cylinder, direct acting steam compund
Boiler Andersons Engineering Ltd Scotch-type wet back, multi tubular, 130 psi installed 1979
Bunker Capacity (coal) 145 tons
Coal consumption
(quoted, 8 hour shift)
2-3 tons
Lifting Capacity 80 tons @ 50ft radius

She was built of steel at Paisley in Scotland, by Fleming & Ferguson Ltd. and was equipped with a crane constructed by Sir William Arrol & Co., the builders of the Forth Bridge.

The Fleming & Ferguson yard and engine works had gained a world-wide reputation for quality small ships and steam reciprocating machinery. On 24th December 1925 Lyttelton Harbour Board ordered the 80-ton self-propelled floating crane RAPAKI for £42,000 to meet the port's demands for a heavy lift crane.

Four months later, on the 9th of April 1926 under the Scottish delivery master, Captain H. Liddell Mack, she made her delivery voyage to New Zealand under her own steam. The voyage, which took 109 days via the Panama Canal, was an eventful one, and RAPAKI faced a number of storms and shortages of food and coal. She was believed lost for a time when she almost ran out of coal on the East Coast of the North Island, eventually limping into Gisborne. Finally RAPAKI arrived in Lyttelton on 27th July, during a strong southerly gale and high seas. After a period of maintenance, on October 14, 1926, she was ready to work.

RAPAKI spent most of her working life at Lyttelton but saw war service in Auckland, and in the Pacific. She was retired from service in 1988 and purchased by the NZNMM in 1993

- Text by the National Maritime Museum
Passing just further along the city skyline starts to open up. On the right is the Rapaki, centre the Auckland Sky Tower and the ANZ bank building on the left...Part 5 next gee this is a looong post.........

2009-02-16

Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 3


Finally leaving Pier 14 on the Ocean Eagle. The elevated boat hull in the background is the huge J-class 1988 Americas Cup Challenger KZ-1 on display outside the Auckland Maritime Museum. KZ-1 was the centre of Americas Cup contraversy when owner Micheal Fay took the San Diego Yacht Club to court in the US and won a bid to challenge for the cup in 1988. A splendid boat but the races were naturally one sided. Stars & Stripes was a Catamaran skippered by the sometimes infamous Dennis Conner. Of course the Catamaran won. Here's the history behind that somewhat crazy event from the New World Encyclopedia

The end of the 12-meter era

In 1988, soon after Stars and Stripes’ victory had redeemed Dennis Conner’s reputation but before the San Diego Yacht Club had publicly issued terms for the next regatta, a New Zealand syndicate, led by merchant banker Michael Fay, lodged a surprise “big boat” challenge under the original rules of the cup trust deed. The challenge used a gigantic yacht named New Zealand (KZ1) or the Big Boat. Fay had challenged using the maximum size yacht possible – even larger than a J-class yacht – which was swiftly built and presented for the contest. Conner’s syndicate, however, recognized that a catamaran was not expressly prohibited under the rules. Catamarans, due to lower mass to sail area ratios and other factors, are in general vastly quicker than monohulls. Conner did not leave anything to chance, however, and commissioned a cutting-edge design with a wing sail, also named Stars and Stripes. A legal battle ensued over whether Conner or Fay had broken the rules or if both had merely skirted the edges of them. The teams were directed by one American court to compete in the race, which New Zealand predictably lost by a huge margin. A second court then awarded New Zealand the cup, only to have a third court decide the San Diego Yacht Club should hold the cup.
The Viaduct is full of Charter boats and the home of course of Team New Zealand. In the background are the cafes and bars that are around the waterfront. All of them were packed out with visitors from all over the globe. We were off though on a four hour cruise around the inner harbour......Part 4 on its way

Trip to the Big Smoke - Part 2


Bow of the Cruise Ship Millenium Princess Wharf Auckland City Harbour

As we passed the Millenium I took another photo of the bow. She was huge. One fancy flaoting hotel that had come in for the Louis Vuitton series. Dean Barker the Kiwi skipper cleaned up brilliantly. The series had only finished the day before so things were a little quieter there on the waterfront but only a little.
SailNZ 1995 America's Cup class yacht & the Catamaran Ocean Eagle moored at Pier 14 Viaduct Harbour Auckland City New Zealand

A few years back the Viaduct was alive with millionaires,billionaires and every sailing nut from around the globe that were there for the America's Cup challenge series. NZ had held it a couple of times but lost it later to the Alinghi Syndicate such is the nature of racing. But out of it the harbour ended up with a new lease of life and it's a great place to chill out, enjoy great food and see the fantastic Maritime museum as well. Lisa and I went there a while back and just loved it! Loads to see and if you're ever over here guys yell! I'll soon help show you the sites. I used to work there in Auckland City and loved it. Still love it now - but only the central city. I hate the suburbs except for a couple I can name that is. Devonport and Avondale I won't every hate. Love them both cool places and fun to visit work and live. But I still love my mad farm and the lifestyle that goes with it.

Stern view of the SailNZ Yacht
Well we found the Ocean Eagle and I took some photos as well of the good old Sky Tower, and the SailNZ training yacht as well. Cool boat and fast! More coming Part 3 next...

The Sky Tower stands 328m high and you can go bungy jumping off it as well!

The trip to the Big Smoke - Part 1


Pier 14 at the Viaduct Basin Auckland City Waterfront


The Cruise Ship Millenium at Princess Wharf Auckland Harbour

Date Launched: 06/17/2000
Registry: Liberia
Officers: Greek
Crew: International
Gross Tons: 91000.0
Length (ft.): 965
Beam (ft.): 105
Passengers: 3450

A couple of hours drive down to Auckland City yesterday saw us heading along the waterfront towards the Viaduct Basin. On the way past there literally dominating the waterline was the huge luxury cruise liner Millenium
.

My nephew Samuel was having a 21st Birthday on the Ocean Eagle a big catameran (probably spelt wrong mutter) that used to be an officials boat during one of the America's Cup challenges.


The waterfront has been changed drastically since the bad old days of sly grog and old sailing ships coming into port with goods from mother England, and a load of hopeful passengers wanting to start a new life in a country they knew nothing about. Auckland at one time used to be New Zealand's capital city later replaced by Wellington. Hobson came to Auckland in 1840 along with Dr John Grant Johnson and other movers and shakers that would lay the foundations for this thriving city. Auckland has the biggest population density at just over 1 million and rising. Not as big as some other cities around the world but enough to say I'm here. Despite all this talk of global recession and things falling apart around our ears there were no signs of it anywhere I could see. People were out enjoying themselves and to heck with the negative reports of the media. I'm an editor but sometimes writing the negative stuff just won't cut it.
And this trip definitely was worth the drive...except maybe for the price of parking. Seems every piece of empty space has a Wilson Parking Ticket box on it. $5 per hour thanks or pay $10 for twelve hours. I paid the $10. What a ripoff ..mutter.
More coming....