WELLINGTON, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra confirmed Wednesday it was in dispute resolution talks with French food company Danone over compensation regarding the false botulism scare in August.
Fonterra released a brief statement following media reports in New Zealand that Danone was claiming the recall in nine countries of products containing the suspect whey powder concentrate that cost it 200 million euros (270.24 million U.S. dollars) while Fonterra had offered just 14 million NZ dollars (11.57 million U.S. dollars).
The statement did not confirm or deny the reports, saying, "The discussions between Fonterra and Danone had been confidential with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable commercial outcome, however some aspects of these discussions have been made public this morning in the press."
Fonterra said it "strongly denies any legal liability to Danone in relation to the recall."
Danone subsidiary Nutricia was forced to recall infant formula made with the suspect whey protein concentrate.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key reportedly met Danone executives in Paris last month and assured them the results from investigations into the recall would be made public.
The announcement at the beginning of August that a batch of Fonterra's whey protein concentrate contained a bacterium that could cause botulism sparked an international food safety alert before tests confirmed a month later that it was a different and relatively harmless bacterium.
The New Zealand government has launched an official inquiry to study the causes of the incident and how well it was handled.