21 Feb 2013

Testing shows no trace of DCD in dairy products

4:05 pm on 21 February 2013

Testing of dairy products for a chemical used in some fertilisers has found no trace of it since mid-November last year.

Low-level residues of dicyandiamide (DCD) were found by dairy cooperative Fonterra in milk powder in September 2012, prompting the Ministry for Primary Industries to suspend the chemical's use in January this year.

The ministry said on Thursday that nearly 2000 samples of products had been tested from all of the major dairy companies.

Director-general Wayne McNee said those from milk collected since mid-November show no traces.

"DCD was applied as a fertiliser in the spring. No product has been applied since the spring and we haven't found any traces of the product in any milk collected after the 13th of November."

Mr McNee said minute traces of DCD have been found in various products already in the supply chain, however there is no food safety risk.

The ministry said the use of DCD on pastures would not be allowed again until an international minimum standard is developed which could take two to three years.

Fertiliser products containing the chemical were used by some farmers to lower nitrate emissions while growing more grass. Dairy makes up a quarter of all exports from New Zealand.