MPI begins compliance investigation into whey contamination
12 August 2013
MPI commences compliance investigation into whey contamination incident
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has commenced a compliance investigation into the potential contamination of three batches of Fonterra’s whey protein concentrate.
“I have said a number of times since MPI was first notified on Friday August 2 of this issue, that we have a number of questions about it, including when relevant parties were informed, and when they should have been informed,” MPI acting Director-General Scott Gallacher said.
“This compliance investigation will determine whether regulatory requirements under the Food Act and the Animal Products Act were met by all parties involved, or whether any parties may have committed any breaches or offences.
“The investigation will include decisions made by all parties and their response, including during production of the whey protein concentrate, and from when anomalies in testing initially arose. It will be led by MPI’s Director of Compliance, and will involve upwards of 20 people,” Mr Gallacher said.
“MPI will continue to provide operational updates on other matters relating to the potential contamination of whey protein concentrate, but it cannot comment any further on the compliance investigation until it is completed. It is likely to take three to six months,” Mr Gallacher said.
Maximum penalties for breaching regulations under the Food and Animal Products Acts range from $100,000 to $500,000, and/or up to 12 months imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offence.
MPI will also undertake a formal debrief process on its own response to the incident, to identify any lessons learned.