Key told a press conference that the government would also rush through legislation to enable the inquiry to subpoena witnesses, Radio New Zealand reported.
Fonterra revealed on Aug. 3 that 38 tonnes of its whey protein was contaminated in May last year with a bacterium that could cause botulism. The whey protein was shipped to customers in New Zealand and abroad before the contamination was announced publicly.
Key said he would announce full details of the inquiry on Aug. 19 and then pass the law within two weeks.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said it had begun an investigation into whether Fonterra complied with its regulatory obligations in informing the authorities of the contamination, which is believed to occurred in May last year.
This compliance investigation will determine whether regulatory requirements under the Food Act and the Animal Products Act were met by all parties involved, or whether any parties may have committed any breaches or offences, he said.
Fonterra, whose reputation has already been damaged by the botulism scare, recalled batches of milk powder in Sri Lanka as the country’s tests show the powder is tainted with a farm chemical, another blow for the dairy giant.
The move came after Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal issued an order on Friday to prevent Fonterra Brands Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., which is locked in a battle with local health officials over allegations of contaminated milk powder, from publishing any advertisements in the “manner and style deceiving the consumers and public that the products imported by them are 100 percent perfect.”
Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has been accused of having dicyandiamide (DCD) in its milk power, a chemical used in fertilizers to prevent them from soaking into rivers, which can be toxic in large amounts.
The New Zealand dairy giant announced on Aug. 2 that tests of some ingredients used in infant formula and sports drinks have turned up a type of bacteria that could cause botulism, a rare but sometimes fatal paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin.
This is the second contamination issue involving Fonterra this year. In January, dicyandiamde, a potentially toxic chemical, was found in some of its products.
Fonterra’s chief executive, Theo Spierings apologized on Monday for the contamination scare at a media briefing in Beijing.
Wang Dingmian, former director of the Dairy Association of China, said there is no need for public panic as no illnesses have been reported yet, “but the scandal may urge Chinese consumers to rethink their unsuspecting favor for foreign-branded baby formulas.”
Foreign-branded infant formula has become a premium commodity in China since Chinese dairy company Sanlu was found to have added kidney-damaging melamine to bulk up formulas. It caused six deaths and hundreds of illnesses in 2008.
China has already suspended imports from Fonterra after the botulism incident, a blow for the New Zealand dairy giant. In the first half of this year, China imported 371,000 tonnes of milk powder from New Zealand,accounting for 83.3 percent of the country’s total milk powder imports, according to Chinese customs data.
නවසීලන්ත විදේශ කටයුතු අමාත්ය….
කිරිපිටි සම්බන්ධයෙන් මතුව ඇති ගැටලුව පිළිබඳ සාකච්ඡා කිරීමට නවසීලන්ත විදේශ කටයුතු අමාත්ය මරේ මැක්ලී මහතා මෙරටට පැමිණීමට නියමිතව තිබේ.
‘ෆොන්ටෙරා’ සමාගමට අයත් කිරි පිටි වර්ග ශ්රී ලංකාවේ තහනම් කිරීම හේතුකොටගෙන ඒ සම්බන්ධයෙන් ශ්රී ලංකානු රජයත් සමග සාකච්ඡා කිරීමට නවසීලන්ත විදේශ කටයුතු අමාත්ය මුරේ මැකලම් මහතා එලෙස ශ්රී ලංකාවට පැමිණේ.
මෙසේ එම කිරි පිටි වර්ගය තහනම් කිරීමට හේතුව වී ඇත්තේ එම කිරි වර්ගයේ ඩී.සී.ඩී නමැති විෂ රසායන වර්ගය අඩංගු වී ඇති බව පරීක්ෂණවලදී වාර්තාවීම හේතුවෙනි. කෙසේ වෙතත් එම සමාගම පවසන්නේ ශ්රී ලංකාවේ රසායන ද්රව්ය අඩංගුද නැතිද යන්න පරීක්ෂා කිරීම සදහා අවශ්ය පහසුකම් ශ්රී ලංකාවේ නොමැති බවත් ඒ , නවසීලන්තයේ කරන ලද පරීක්ෂණ වලින් තහවුරු වී ඇත්තේ එම කිරි පිටිවල මෙම රසායනය අඩංගු නැති බවත්ය. ආනයනික කිරිපිටි සම්බන්ධ වෙළඳ දැන්වීම් ප්රචාරණයද මේවන විට අධිකරණ නියමයෙන් ශ්රී ලංකාව තුළ අත්හිටුවා ඇත.