Senior Fonterra managers 'placed on leave'
Two senior Fonterra managers have been placed on leave, effective immediately, as the dairy giant continues investigating the recent botulism scare.
It comes just two days after NZ Milk Products manager Gary Romano resigned.
In a statement sent after 5pm today, Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says placing the two managers on leave did not pre-empt the findings of its inquiry and they will continue to be involved.
“We are moving quickly and establishing key facts about what has happened and, as they emerge, we are taking appropriate action.”
Fonterra today announced that two senior managers have been placed on leave, effective immediately, as it continues its internal operational investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recent precautionary recall of whey protein concentrate.
Fonterra’s board of directors is continuing a separate inquiry, the statement says, and the findings of the operational review will be shared with them.
Yesterday, Fonterra announced Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Auckland University's vice chancellor, will join its internal inquiry team, which met for the first time on Wednesday.
The company's latest statement says the operational review will be completed by the end of the month and it is looking into the "transparency of information in the business", and how that information is escalated to the appropriate levels.
The government is also establishing its own inquiry.
Earlier this month, Fonterra announced it had found bacteria in three batches of whey protein concentrate which contains a strain of Clostridium, which has the potential to cause botulism.
The announcement prompted panic amongst consumers, particularly those using infant formula containing the ingredient, and has led to China refusing to take some Fonterra products and a ban on Fonterra products by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Fonterra said the problem originated at its Hautapu manufacturing site, near Cambridge.
Whey protein is used in the manufacture of infant formula, juice and dairy beverages, yoghurt, body building powder, and animal stock food.