New Zealand government inquiry into how potentially contaminated dairy products were exported abroad in last year's botulism false alarm and global product recall will be completed by end of November, ministers announce

WELLINGTON, New Zealand , May 30, 2014 () – A New Zealand government inquiry into how potentially contaminated dairy products were exported abroad in last year's botulism false alarm and global product recall will be completed by the end of November, ministers announced Friday.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said they had received a letter from the chair of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident, advising that Nov. 28 was a realistic date for its completion.

"The first stage of the Inquiry explored regulations and policies relating to food safety events in New Zealand and how these could be strengthened. The second stage of the Inquiry will examine how the potentially contaminated whey protein concentrate entered the New Zealand and international markets and the subsequent response," Guy said in a statement.

The inquiry could only begin after the Ministry for Primary Industries had completed a compliance investigation into dairy giant Fonterra, and the company had been sentenced on food safety charges in court and the appeal period had expired.

Parts B and C of the inquiry into New Zealand's largest food safety scare were released in December last year and the government responded by accepting all 29 recommendations in principle.

Over the past five months the government has established the Food Safety Science and Research Centre, the Food Safety Assurance Advisory Council, a traceability working group and passed Food Act to better regulate the industry.

Fonterra pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court last month to four food safety-related charges connected to global recall of whey protein concentrate over the false botulism scare, which happened in August last year.

Fonterra is also fighting a civil case brought by French food giant Danone, which is claiming compensation of 350 million euros (476.17 million U.S. dollars) for the scare.

(c) 2014 Xinhua News Agency

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