The second report into the Fonterra whey protein concentrate incident reaffirms that New Zealand has one of the best and safest food production and regulatory systems in the world, says NZ Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.
“This report also shows that those systems are backed by a world class response system, and that the correct precautionary decision to recall product was made at time of the incident.
“That’s reassuring for a country that relies so much on getting food safety processes right.
“FGC applauds the Government for accepting all the recommendations, many of which have already been or are in the act of being implemented.
“Industry has worked alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries on some of them, including helping to establish the Dairy Capability Working Group and the Food Safety & Assurance Advisory Council, both of which have picked up issues raised by the inquiry.
“Altogether, these initiatives and the inquiry’s recommendations should further strengthen confidence from our trading partners that New Zealand has a truly world class food safety system.
“This event affected a lot of FGC members greatly so the publication of this document provides final closure for the incident.
“Credit should go to the inquiry team of Miriam Dean QC, Tony Nowell and Dr Anne Astin. Their analysis over these two reports represents a significant audit of New Zealand’s food safety system and proves beyond doubt we have very robust safety systems.
“Credit should also go to the former Minister for Food Safety, Nikki Kaye, who demonstrated outstanding leadership managing a tough situation at the time of the incident.”
Fonterra Co-operative Group Chief Executive Theo Spierings acknowledged the release of the Government’s final report into last year’s whey protein concentrate precautionary recall. He said: “Food safety and quality are our number one priority. At the time of the recall, we did what was right based on the evidence we had. It was subsequently confirmed that the recalled WPC80 did not present a health risk. We have co-operated fully with the Government inquiry team during its investigation. The report reaffirms many of the findings of our own Operational Review and the Board’s Independent Inquiry undertaken last year. It highlights once again that New Zealand’s dairy food production and safety systems are as safe as any in the world.”
He added: “We welcome the report’s acknowledgement of the programme of work Fonterra has underway to further strengthen our approach to food safety and quality. We will study the report’s findings and recommendations over the coming days.”