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WPC Tracing and Verification report

Ministry for Primary Industries releases WPC Tracing and Verification report

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released a report detailing the tracing and verification of potentially contaminated whey protein concentrate (WPC).

The report details the approach MPI, along with its partners, has adopted to locate all potentially affected WPC. All potentially affected product has been accounted for.

Fonterra advised MPI on 2 August that batches of its whey protein concentrate may have been potentially contaminated with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

“In conducting and releasing the report, we have taken an open and transparent approach. The report shows the tracing process undertaken.” said MPI Acting Director-General Scott Gallacher. “This means companies are named, transactions between them are identified, and some information about their processes and equipment is included.”

“The health and wellbeing of consumers is our priority and warrants this level of disclosure and our cautionary approach,” Mr Gallacher said.

The tracing and verification report outlines:
• The initiating event at Fonterra Hautapu
• The distribution of potentially contaminated WPC to specific sites and processors
• The incorporation of potentially contaminated WPC into other products, and their distribution
• The methods MPI used to verify information on the distribution and location of the potentially affected product
• The recalls initiated and their management
• The tracing of exports, and notification of overseas authorities

The report addresses the full range of information MPI received from Fonterra over the course of the last few weeks, including where Fonterra had identified additional potentially affected product MPI is satisfied that all product affected by the potential contamination incident has either been recalled, assessed as being of low risk and/or is under detention in various countries.

Further investigations are underway to help MPI understand how the situation came about, and what lessons can be learned from it.

There have been no confirmed reports of illness of any kind related to these batches of whey protein concentrate, anywhere in the world.

“This report is an important step in reassuring consumers and markets,” said Mr Gallacher.
“We appreciate the cooperation of affected companies who have worked with MPI throughout this incident,” said Mr Gallacher.

MPI also announced on 20 August that interim measures will be implemented – ahead of the outcome of the reviews into this matter:

MPI will:
• Lift the regulatory presence in manufacturing premises
• Lift the level of and nature of testing across dairy production to improve the identification of non-compliance issues
• Run tracing simulations to test the capability of the industry to rapidly track and trace product through their supply chains
• Increase reviews of the risk management plans dairy producers have for manufacturing facilities.

ENDS

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