News of two milk contamination incidents in Victoria has sent ripples of concern through the dairy industry.
Lactalis Australia recalled eight milk varieties sold by Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other retailers in Victoria and southern NSW because they may contain the bacteria E. coli.
It comes a week after the company had to recall eight different milk varieties with expiry dates of between June 25 and 28, because of fears they contained a cleaning solution.
The discovery of any contamination in fresh milk would be a cause for concern, but two, from the same company, within a week, raises some questions and issues.
Australia is proud of its reputation as a producer of high-quality dairy products and in recent years has been leaning on that history to give it a market edge.
Food safety is high on the list of expectations for modern, Australian consumers and even the emerging middle classes of our overseas consumers are voting with their wallets on reassurances of food hygiene.
Lactalis, an international enterprise owned by a French company, would certainly be aware of the sensitivity of food safety issues.
We would like to know if the two recent incidents were connected, how the contamination occurred and what is being done to ensure it doesn’t re-occur, but the company is not really talking, so we can’t be sure.
It may be that Lactalis (and the industry) are hoping the issue will blow away and will not reach the eyes and ears of our international trading partners, but in the internet age that would be a forlorn desire.
We can only hope that the cause has been remedied and the company is making sure that it doesn’t happen again.