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Fonterra Board to conduct formal independent review

8 August 2013

Fonterra Board to conduct formal independent review

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson today announced an independent review of the Co-operative’s performance at the time of, and following, the manufacture of the affected whey protein concentrate.

“Firstly, I need to say how deeply concerned everyone at Fonterra is for the anxiety that has been created by this issue. On behalf of our Board, I apologise to mums, dads and caregivers for any confusion and concern.

“Over the past week, the Fonterra Board has been frequently updated by our management team, and I have kept our Shareholders’ Council and our farmers regularly informed of the unfolding situation.

“I am confident that Theo and his team have made the right decisions and are continuing to do everything they can, as quickly as they can, in what has been a complex issue.

“They have placed public health and safety above all else, made tough calls and put Fonterra’s full weight behind resolving the situation. As a farmer co-operative, this is how we expect our management team to act. We have a set of core values and two of them centre around our co-operative spirit and doing what’s right, and I have been impressed to see these in action over the past week. 

Mr Wilson said the Board’s priority has been to support the Fonterra management team in managing the issue, to ensure governments, customers and the public are kept informed.

“The business is now nearing the final stages of getting the issue under control and the focus will soon shift from operations to reviewing exactly what happened.

“There are serious lessons that need to be learnt from this, and that is why, in addition to the operational investigation our Chief Executive has already committed to, the Board will be conducting a comprehensive formal review of its own.”

The review will be led by the Independent Directors of the Board of Fonterra, and will include independent expert advice. Mr Wilson said the scope and terms of reference will be finalised in the coming days, and will cover the period from the time the affected product was manufactured in May 2012 through to the recovery operation.

“My expectations are that the review will challenge every aspect of the business. We want to know how this happened, and why. We want to make sure it won’t happen again, and we want to take steps to build systems and procedures in Fonterra, and the global dairy supply chain, that will reduce the chance of this ever happening again.  

“We will not shy away from the findings of the review. The global food industry is changing rapidly, along with the science and food technology that are needed to stay at the forefront in the dairy sector. We are absolutely committed to maintaining our leadership position, not just in the quality and safety of our products, but also in manufacturing, and the testing, processes and systems required to maintain the highest possible standards.”

Mr Wilson said the Board will also co-operate fully with any New Zealand Government or regulatory authority review or investigation.

ENDS

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