Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, revealed earlier today that its Illinois-based subsidiary, Fonterra USA, had failed to secure a license to import cheese from its plants in New Zealand.
“Due to human error, a deadline was missed which meant that Fonterra (USA) failed to apply in time for licenses to import New Zealand cheese into the USA in 2015,” said Kelvin Wickham, director of global ingredients, Fonterra.
It insists, however, that the financial impact will be "limited" and its 2015 sales "will not be impacted."
"Fonterra has reached commercial arrangements with other New Zealand cheese license holders to ensure that we can meet our planned 2015 New Zealand cheese orders in the USA," said Wickham.
Today's US cheese export licensing "error" is Fonterra's second international sales setback in the last week.
On January 29, in response to a forecasted fall in milk production, Fonterra announced it intends to reduce the amount of product it offers on the GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) online auction platform.
It slashed its forecast for the 2014/15 season, which began June 1 2014, from 1.584bn kg of milk solids (kgMS) to 1.532bn kgMS to reflect “the impact of dry weather on production in recent weeks.”
Despite the revision, Fonterra said it would “meet all current sales commitments” but intended to “reduce the quantity of product offered on the GlobalDairyTrade auction platform.”
Fonterra currently offers anhydrous milk fat (AMF), cheddar cheese, whole milk powder (WMP), skim milk powder (SMP), and rennet casein on the GDT platform.