Fonterra will still face dual investigations over a botulism scare, even though it has turned out to be a false alarm.
Yesterday the Ministry for Primary Industries said fresh testing of Fonterra’s products revealed they did not contain Clostridium botulinum as announced on August 3 and which sparked an international scare.
Instead, the whey protein used widely in infant formula contained another form of bacteria which could cause products to spoil, but posed no food safety issue.
On August 2, Fonterra informed the ministry it had discovered a bacteria linked to botulism in a product manufactured 14 months earlier at its Hautapu plant in Waikato.
The resulting scare prompted some trading partners to block some or all New Zealand dairy products, while a major state-run Chinese newspaper wrote a scathing editorial about New Zealand testing standards.
Yesterday the Government, the ministry and Fonterra expressed relief at the findings.
New Zealand has one of the most transparent and rigorous food testing and assurance regimes in the world. It means that sometimes there will be alarm over a potential safety issue that after turns out to not be warranted.
However that is preferable to a regime when nothing is said publicly until (for examples) people start falling sick or worse.Tags: Fonterra, food safety