News Summary: NZ tries to calm Chinese buyers

MILK ASSURANCES: New Zealand’s leaders are on a charm offensive to reassure Chinese consumers after a botulism scare threatened sales in a major market for New Zealand milk.

AMBITIONS THREATENED: China’s demand for imported milk soared after domestic supplies in 2008 killed six babies and sickened thousands. That fit New Zealand’s ambitions as a food supplier to booming Asian economies. But the announcement by Fonterra, a New Zealand company and the world’s biggest dairy exporter, of contamination in an ingredient used in baby formula threw up a potentially damaging obstacle.

CABINET CONCERN: On Thursday, Foreign Minister Murray McCully met with China’s foreign minister and another Cabinet official and assured them of his government’s “total and absolute commitment” to food quality.