11 Apr 2014

Chinese dairy consumers 'moving on'

6:26 am on 11 April 2014

Fonterra says Chinese dairy consumers are moving on from the botulism scare.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Dairy is set to play a huge role in helping New Zealand hit its ambitious new $30 billion two-way trade target with China.

But there are worries that people there haven't heard that Fonterra's botulism scare last year was a false alarm.

Fonterra's Greater China and India president Kelvin Wickham said the market indicates that Chinese consumers have not been put off from buying New Zealand milk.

"We've worked hard to restore that confidence and we've worked hard with consumers reaching out to them getting them to ask their questions if they're concerned about noise or stories they've heard.

''The evidence of the fact that we've moved on beyond that is the fact that normal trade is moving forwards, we've seen sales increase in China right across the board and we're well ahead of a year ago."

Trade Minister Tim Groser said the Fonterra botulism scare bruised some New Zealand and Chinese companies. But he said they are well over that now.

"You know I think at the end of the day when you're dealing with adults in whatever culture you're dealing with - people understand that people make mistakes."

Mr Groser said it's how you deal with them that is the test of what they think of you after the event.

He said the Chinese Government is very impressed with how New Zealand handled the botulism scare.