December 12, 2013

Fonterra welcomes government inquiry report

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings today welcomed the release of the Government inquiry report into the whey protein concentrate contamination incident and said it affirmed NZ’s position as a global leader in food production and safety.

“The report and its recommendations will help further strengthen New Zealand’s robust food safety regulatory systems,” Mr Spierings said.

“The integrity of the system is highlighted by comments from Professor Alan Reilly, the Inquiry’s Independent Peer Reviewer, who states: “I concur with the broad conclusion drawn by the Inquiry team that the dairy food regulatory structure in New Zealand is fundamentally sound and compares well with official food control systems elsewhere in the world.”

“This independent endorsement of the quality of New Zealand’s food safety framework is a welcome contribution following the WPC80 precautionary recall,” said Mr Spierings.

“We have learned critical lessons from what has been a difficult experience, and the findings of this forward-looking review are an important step in our own reputational rebuild.  It is encouraging that many of the recommendations are in line with our own conclusions about the robustness of New Zealand’s food production and safety systems.”

Mr Spierings acknowledged the constructive level of engagement throughout the inquiry process and said Fonterra is looking forward to working with the Government to progress some of the report’s recommendations.

“An exciting proposal for Fonterra, and for New Zealand, is the establishment of a centre of food safety science and research and we would welcome the opportunity to commit our expertise to a project such as this.

“We will continue working with Government, global regulators and other food producers to be even better equipped to deal with food safety challenges in the future.  New Zealand is the dairy capital of the world and Fonterra must play a lead role in creating a new global benchmark for food safety and quality,” Mr Spierings said. 

More: Inquiries and review

More: Independent Inquiry for the Fonterra Board