Icecream firm bemused by E coli recall

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 14:16 14/01/2014

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Icecream maker Deep South has issued a precautionary recall of a batch of its produce after E coli was found in the company's factory.

The recall comes despite none of its products testing positive for the bacteria.

Deep South co-owner and director Mike Killick said today the voluntary recall was issued on Friday after an environmental test showed E coli in the factory.

None of the company's icecream had tested positive for E coli, Killick said.

The voluntary recall was issued three days before Fonterra also issued a recall on a batch of Anchor and Pams cream that was contaminated with E coli.

Killick said Deep South did not buy cream from Fonterra or share any processing sites or equipment.

However, he believed Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) had suggested Deep South carry out the voluntary recall because of Fonterra's recent contamination issues, which had affected the dairy industry.

"We had been wondering why MPI had been taking such a harsh stance on us," he said.

Killick believed the company had been caught up in the fallout from the Fonterra botulism contamination scare last year.

"Our independent risk auditors couldn't understand why we had to do a product recall," he said.

"It might be one of those things on the back of Fonterra again."

The voluntary recall would probably have an impact on the company's market reputation, he said, "which is causing a situation that doesn't need to occur because we know our product is safe".

A Fonterra spokesman said they were aware of the Deep South voluntary recall but it was a separate issue from Fonterra's cream recall, issued last night.

Killick said a single piece of equipment had tested positive for E coli, and was reported to the company's risk auditors who passed the information to MPI.

While none of Deep South's icecream had tested positive for E coli, the ministry suggested the company issue a voluntary recall on all its flavours for the batch with the expiry period between December 27, 2015 and January 7, 2016, he said.

Further testing had cleared all of the company's icecream.

He said E coli contaminations were rare and had not happened before at Deep South.

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- Fairfax Media

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