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Monday, February 2

Chinese milk scandal has damaged NZ's image says PM

PRIME Minister John Key admitted the Chinese milk contamination scandal has damage New Zealand's image.

"I think the whole thing is terribly regrettable and, frankly, unhelpful," Mr Key told a post-cabinet press conference today.

Beibei infant formula, produced by Fonterra's Chinese joint venture, Sanlu Group, contained the highest levels of melamine, at 2563mg/kg (parts per million), found in the scandal.

As the Green Party asked Fonterra to help set the record straight on the Chinese milk contamination scandal last week, a call now echoed by legal experts and New Zealand media.

"Fonterra is our biggest exporter and it is critical for its international reputation that the dairy company front up with evidence to dispel any doubts about its business practices in China," Kedgley said last Wednesday.

On the other hand,Mr. Key said there has been quite a strong demand for New Zealand-produced formula, so in a sense there is some damage, but he don't think it is affecting what is coming out of New Zealand

Fonterra has been the biggest exporter of milkpowders to China, separate to those made there by Sanlu, for more than 20 years.