Food safety in New Zealand is once again under international scrutiny after dairy giant Fonterra announced a recall of 8,700 bottles of fresh cream. Fonterra began a voluntary recall after quality tests revealed the possible contamination of E.Coli bacterium.

The Fonterra recall only covered its own Anchor brand and another supermarket brand in North Island. Although the bottles of cream believed to have E.Coli were distributed in New Zealand, the news of the recall had triggered memories of Fonterra's botulism scare in 2013.

The giant exporter of milk based in Auckland was at the center of an international storm over food safety issues since Fonterra announced a global recall of infant formula in Aug. 2013. Concentrated whey proteins in its baby formula were believed to contain bacteria linked to the deadly disease, botulism. China and Sri Lanka had temporarily banned some milk products from New Zealand after news broke out. Due to the botulism scare that rocked the New Zealand dairy industry, the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units fell to its lowest level in 2013.

In the latest food safety issue involving Fonterra, the Federated Farmers said it only showed how quality assurance systems were working in farmer-owned cooperatives. Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Willy Leferink remarked that Fonterra's voluntary recall was completely justified based on its own testing.

New Zealand's credibility tested

New Zealand's opposition Labor Party noted that the Fonterra recall will once again test the credibility of the country's standards on food safety. Labor primary industries spokesperson Damien O'Connor believes Fonterra's timing of food testing should be subjected to further scrutiny along with other food companies.

Mr O'Connor said Fonterra is New Zealand's biggest exporter of dairy products. Since New Zealand relies on food exports, the country cannot afford to damage its reputation in the international scene.

Mr O'Connor further criticised the New Zealand government for been spending millions in the Primary Growth Partnership fund, yet its food safety and science continue to lack resources and not up to par with international standards.

French food company Danone had announced it will be cancelling its supply contract with Fonterra after the botulism scare in 2013. Danone resorted to court proceedings in Singapore and New Zealand to claim compensation from the dairy giant.