Fonterra Contamination - Wednesday MPI Press Conference
Contaminated Fonterra Milk Products: MPI Press Conference - Wednesday 7 August
By Hamish Cardwell
The Ministry of Primary Industries is confident it has identified the locations of contaminated Fonterra dairy products.
On Friday it emerged that three batches of Fonterra-manufactured whey protein had tested positive for a food poisoning bacterium which can cause botulism.
At a press conference on Wednesday 7 August in Wellington MPI acting director general Scott Gallacher said on the basis of the information they had received from Fonterra, Nutrica and others they knew where the contaminated products were, and that they had passed this information on to relevant overseas agencies.
Mr Gallacher said he was confident that contaminated products in New Zealand was restricted to Nutricia Karicare Infant Formula Stage 1 for babies from birth, and Nutricia Karicare Stage 2 Follow-on formula for children from six months old.
Mr Gallacher was asked why Asure Quality, a government owned food safety company, was notified of the possible contamination a day earlier than MPI.
He said that Assure Quality had a 24-hour turnaround and they had then given the information to MPI.
Director General of the Minstry of Health Kevin Woods was also at the press conference.
MPI issued a press release later that day saying that AsureQuality were not informed of the contamination before MPI and that his original statement had been incorrect.
Mr Gallacher said he had misinterpreted information that was provided to him about what should have occurred, as opposed to what did occur.
Under Fonterra’s Risk Management Plan, it is required to inform AsureQuality and MPI within 24 hours of test results showing a potential food safety issue.
“I am advised that this didn’t occur in this case. Fonterra notified us on Friday 2 August before any contact with AsureQuality,” Mr Gallacher said. “My misunderstanding resulted in the wrong information being provided to the Minister for Food Safety and subsequently to the Prime Minister. I apologise for the confusion this may have caused.”
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