Fonterra fined for baby food botulism scare

New Zealand dairy co-op Fonterra has been fined NZ$300,000 (£154,495) for breaking food safety rules after last year’s botulism scare.

The world’s biggest dairy processor admitted it did not follow its risk management programme and some of its exports had not met animal product standards.

Fonterra raised the alarm last August that 38t of whey protein concentrate contained botulism-causing bacteria.

The bacteria was eventually found to be less harmful, but thousands of cans of baby formula were recalled around the world and China blocked New Zealand dairy imports for three weeks.

See also Fonterra admits food safety violations

French manufacturer Danone started suing Fonterra for damages earlier this year, claiming it lost £350m (£289m) from the recall.

“New Zealand’s reputation for high-quality dairy products was shaken,” judge Peter Hobbs said while giving his judgement.

Fonterra managing director for people, culture and strategy Maury Leyland said the co-op had already accepted the allegations in the charges and respected the decision.

Fonterra has 10,500 New Zealand farmer-members who produce 16bn of the 22bn litres the company processes each year.

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