After traces of DCD (Dicyandiamide) were detected in liquid milk, Federated Farmers fully endorses the decision to voluntarily withdraw DCD based nitrification inhibitors until acceptable residue levels have been internationally agreed.
“DCDs are considered safe and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, however, there is no internationally agreed acceptable level and so the default is the level of detection,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers spokesperson on food safety.
“These residues have only come to light given the increased sophistication of testing we now possess. It really shows the thoroughness of testing within New Zealand’s primary industries and the high standard we put on ourselves to protect our reputation as a trusted supplier of food products.
“We also need to keep things in perspective because DCD based nitrification inhibitors have been applied on around 500 dairy farms out of some 12,000 in New Zealand.
“That said a detectable level at this time presents a trade risk, no matter how small. It is completely appropriate that Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients have withdrawn DCD based nitrification inhibitors from the market.
“Given DCD based nitrification inhibitors would generally have been applied last Spring, it is highly unlikely any DCD will be detected in products coming off the production line now.
“Extensive testing by the processors has found no traces of DCD in processed dairy products like cheese or butter.
“People should have no issue in consuming dairy products but given New Zealand’s reputation is based on integrity, honesty and trust, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have briefed our trading partners.
“I want those markets to know that New Zealand’s primary industries take this extremely seriously. We are being open and honest and everyone involved is front footing it.
“There will be a financial cost but that is secondary to maintaining our reputation, given the bulk majority of farms have not used DCD based nitrification inhibitors.
“These inhibitors arose out of the considerable pressure to seek solutions to diffuse nitrogen (N).
“The current pause in DCD use reminds us that we need to ensure the regulatory system is up to date when we use and then test for new products, even if they are considered safe,” Dr Rolleston concluded.