NZ leaders plan China whey visit

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, will visit China in about a week as the country deals with the fallout from a contamination scare at the world's largest dairy exporter, Fonterra Co-operative Group.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, will visit China in about a week as the country deals with the fallout from a contamination scare at the world's largest dairy exporter, Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Mr McCully will be followed in a "few weeks or months" by Trade Minister Tim Groser, and Prime Minister John Key will visit the country once a report into the incident is completed.

New Zealand's dollar fell to a one-month low after Fonterra said a dirty pipe at a processing plant may have tainted whey protein used in dairy formula with botulism-causing bacteria. China halted imports of some Fonterra products and the official news agency Xinhua wrote that buyers were losing faith in New Zealand's clean image.

Mr Key will wait to visit Beijing until an inquiry into the incident is complete because "he wants to be able to ... give them answers," said his spokeswoman, Kelly Boxall.

Dairy products are New Zealand's biggest foreign exchange earner, accounting for 28 per cent of overseas sales in an economy in which exports make up about a third of output. Fonterra posted revenue of $NZ19.8 billion ($17.3 billion) in the year through July 2012.

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