On 2 August 2013, Fonterra initiated a precautionary recall of 38 tonnes of its whey protein concentrate ingredient (WPC80). The decision was based on the results of independent testing Fonterra commissioned from Crown Research Institute, AgResearch, which concluded the likely presence of Clostridium botulinum in bacteria sourced from product containing the whey protein concentrate. Subsequent independent testing by New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries, reported on 28 August 2013, definitively confirmed that the Clostridia was Clostridium sporogenes, which is harmless, and not Clostridium botulinum.
Shortly after initiating the precautionary recall, Fonterra’s Chief Executive, Theo Spierings, commissioned an Operational Review to enable the Co-operative to understand the cause of the contamination and evaluate how the business handled the incident and precautionary recall.
The Operational Review team was also tasked with making recommendations on how Fonterra could prevent an event like this from happening again.
Led by Fonterra’s Group Director of Strategy, Maury Leyland, the Operational Review conducted interviews with employees across the business and analysed materials including communications, reports and other relevant data.
The findings and recommendations of the Operational Review were presented to Fonterra’s Chief Executive, Theo Spierings, on 30 August 2013.
More: Inquiries and review
More: Independent Inquiry for the Fonterra Board