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Fonterra botulism scare was false alarm

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 01:30

Aug. 28 - Dairy giant Fonterra's products, which were at the centre of a global food contamination scare earlier this month, did not contain a bacteria that could cause botulism and posed no food safety threat, said New Zealand officials. Fonterra's CEO says they did the right thing in announcing the possible risk. Joanna Partridge reports

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The Fonterra milk products at the centre of a global food contamination scare earlier this month did not contain a bacteria that could cause botulism. Following tests, New Zealand officials say they didn't pose a food safety threat. The scare triggered a recall of products made by multinational brands that might have contained the whey protein concentrate - from China to the Middle East. Other countries banned Fonterra products or increased testing. The dairy giant's CEO says the firm acted correctly in announcing the possible risk. SOUNDBITE: FONTERRA CEO THEO SPIERINGS SAYING (English): "We did the right things and made the right calls all the way through. We acted decisively and of course there will be learnings." Fonterra says the contaminated whey protein was caused by a dirty pipe at one of its processing plants. The firm - which controls around a third of the world's dairy exports - has been told it still needs to be vigilant about hygiene standards. There has been concern in New Zealand over how Fonterra handled the incident. Conor English is Chief Executive of Federated Farmers. SOUNDBITE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF FEDERATED FARMERS CONOR ENGLISH, SAYING (English): "It's mixed emotions, we're relieved that there wasn't a big problem there at the start but still concerned about the way things have worked out over the past three weeks." Several inquiries, including a government one, are currently underway. After the clear results, Fonterra can repair its reputation.

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Fonterra botulism scare was false alarm

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 01:30