False alarm is good news, but false positive must be investigated

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chief executive officer, Fonterra

False alarm is good news, but false positive must be investigated
The news that there was no botulism risk from Fonterra’s batches of whey will come as a huge relief to the company and consumers around world, according to New Zealand Food & Grocery Council chief executive and FoodNavigator-Asia commentator 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​.”

Rich said the food companies involved should be applauded for their decision to recall products as a precaution, while Fonterra made the right moves.

Some people will now be asking whether these test results mean the 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 CEOs 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​.”

Rich accused the Crown Institute report’s findings as being the trigger for the the scare and speculated whether the science behind 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​.”

Related topics: Formulation, Food safety, Oceania, Dairy

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