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Fonterra satisfied it met disclosure rules over food scare

Fonterra satisfied it met general disclosure rules over food scare

Aug. 6 (BusinessDesk) - Fonterra Cooperative Group, New Zealand’s biggest company, is confident it met the general disclosure rules required of a public issuer over the food contamination scare.

The Auckland-based dairy company identified the bacteria on July 31, before making a public announcement on Aug. 3, outside trading hours on the New Zealand stock exchange. The delay has raised the ire of the government, and prompted the Financial Markets Authority to look at whether Fonterra met general disclosure rules.

“We believe we have satisfied the regulatory requirements,” having taken legal advice, group director communications Kerry Underhill told a media conference in Auckland.

The world’s biggest dairy exporter is still trying to identify and contain some tainted whey protein product, which has seen some of New Zealand’s trading partners impose bans on certain products, and Fonterra is reluctant to comment on a future review of its processes.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said once the immediate problems are addressed, the government will investigate Fonterra’s role in the food scare “around the length of time it took for all of us to know, it will be about the processes it went through from when it first identified there could be an issue to one that was one that was brought into the public domain, and to the general approach to these issues.”

Fonterra’s general manager for NZ Milk Products, Gary Romano, told the briefing the Ministry for Primary Industries will oversee the company’s review of its processes when that comes, but for now it’s still focusing on addressing the operational problem of tainted product.

“It’s premature right now to ask about which tests were done, when and why,” Romano said.

Similarly, when asked whether any of Fonterra’s customers had raised the issue of compensation, Romano said they hadn’t, and that it will also be some time before they have those discussions.


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