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Food Safety Focus (80th Issue, March 2013) – Food Incident Highlight

Dicyandiamide (DCD) in New Zealand Milk Products

Last month, following the unexpected detection of low levels of dicyandiamide (DCD, also known as 2-cyanoguanadine) in some New Zealand milk products, the Centre for Food Safety evaluated the possible risk associated with the concerned products and found that normal consumption of milk products with DCD at the levels detected posed no food safety risk.

DCD is a chemical of low toxicity. It is used on farm land to reduce nitrate leaching to waterways and greenhouse gas emissions from farming, dairying in particular, as well as to promote pasture growth. Residues of DCD might be present in milk of animals when they graze on pastures where DCD has been applied.

Currently, no standard has been set for DCD residues in food by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. As a precautionary measure, manufacturers of DCD have voluntarily suspended sales and use of the chemical on farm land in New Zealand.