24 Oct 2008

Product recall may force closure of Southland company

4:30 pm on 24 October 2008

The owner of a small Southland dairy processing company says it may be forced to close after having to recall some of its products because of bacterial contamination.

Happy Valley Dairies has stopped processing after tests revealed high levels of E. Coli in milk and also Listeria contamination in yoghurt.

The company sells fresh milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese produced on its farm near Tuatapere in Western Southland.

Jeanine Venekamp who runs Happy Valley Dairies with her husband Frans, says it is likely to take another week at least to complete tests required by the Food Safety Authority.

She objects to the way the FSA handled the recall and says she's not sure the business can survive the shut-down or the damage to its reputation.

The authority has an assessor at the plant on Friday. It says it does not know how long the investigation will take, or when the company will be able to resume production.