FGC on Fonterra announcement

Press Release 28/8/2013

The news that there was no botulism risk from Fonterra’s batches of whey will come as a huge relief to consumers around world, as well as to the company and the New Zealand food industry, says Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

“This is fantastic news. Mum and dad buyers of infant formula around the world will be particularly relieved at this news. There was never a risk to their babies.

“The food companies involved should be applauded for their decision to do their precautionary recall.

“Some people will now be asking whether these welcome test results mean the precautionary recalls were a waste of time. The answer is: absolutely not.

“From a food industry perspective Fonterra did exactly the right thing – they put public safety first.

“Faced with positive test results from Crown Research Institute AgResearch, Fonterra had no choice – morally, ethically, or commercially - but to issue a full recall of the batches in question to eliminate all possibility of risk to consumers.

“Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings made the correct and only appropriate call. As other CEO's within the FGC membership would agree, he would have been derelict in his duty as head of a global food company had he not acted so promptly.

“This entire incident was triggered by the findings in the Crown Institute’s report.

“In the coming days the science which underpinned that research may come under scrutiny.

“The ‘quality and integrity of diagnostic testing’ is already a significant component of the Ministerial Inquiry, so we are aware that the specifics of these concerns may be shared as part of that process. It is the Food & Grocery Council's sincere hope that this economic disaster for New Zealand is not based on inadequate science. 

“The past few weeks have been very challenging for Fonterra and other FGC members in the dairy products sector, and they should all be applauded for the way they dealt with the recalls. They all had public safety at top of mind.

"This is actually a great example of why consumers the world over can have confidence in New Zealand’s food safety system. There was doubt, so a precautionary recall was issued immediately and the affected products were quickly identified and pulled from the global supply chain.

“Fonterra’s decision to move so swiftly demonstrates its dedication to the highest standards of food safety and food quality.”