The Ministry for Primary Industries has laid four charges against Fonterra, alleging breaches of the Animal Products Act and the company plans to plead guilty.
The charges have been filed against Fonterra Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fonterra Co-operative Group. They are:
- Processing dairy product not in accordance with its Risk Management Programme
- Exporting dairy product that failed to meet relevant animal product standards
- Failing to notify its verifier of significant concerns that dairy product had not been processed in accordance with its Risk Management Programme
- Failing to notify the Director General as soon as possible that exported dairy product was not fit for intended purpose.
The charges arise from MPI’s investigation into events leading up to the precautionary whey protein concentrate (WPC80) recall last year -commonly referred to as the Fonterra botulism scare.
MPI had examined whether Fonterra had complied with all its food safety and quality obligations, under New Zealand’s Food Act and Animal Products Act in connection with the events leading to the precautionary recall.
“We have accepted all four charges, which are consistent with the findings of our Operational Review, and the Independent Board Inquiry,” Fonterra’s managing director people, culture and strategy Maury Leyland said in a statement.
“The WPC80 event caused us to examine in detail what happened, why it happened, and what we must do to minimise the risk of it ever happening again.
“We are making good progress on implementing the necessary improvements the Operational Review and Independent Board Inquiry identified,” Ms Leyland said.
MPI says it cannot make further comment as the matter is before the courts.