WELLINGTON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings on Friday denied the company delayed informing the New Zealand government agencies and consumers after it found out some of its whey product was contaminated with a botulism causing bacterium.
Fonterra revealed on Aug. 3 that 38 tonnes of its whey protein used by other manufacturers, including infant formula, was contaminated by a dirty pipe at the a processing plant in May 2012.
On Thursday the dairy giant confirmed it had contained all products potentially contaminated with the bacteria and announced the cooperative's board would launch its own inquiry, run by its independent directors, into how the contamination happened, and why it took so long to inform the public.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will also hold an inquiry, Radio New Zealand reported Friday.
Spierings and board chairman John Wilson met with senior ministers at Parliament on Friday to update them on the crisis.
Spierings told reporters in Wellington that Fonterra met all its obligations with regard to notifications and didn't believe it had breached any food safety regulations in relation to keeping the regulator informed, said the report.
"There was no delay. A decision on the food safety risk analysis was taken on the 1st of August - late. And within 24 hours everybody was informed including the public, including our customers, including governments, including local authorities," Spierings was quoted as saying.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said Friday the government still had questions over whether Fonterra acted quickly enough.
"We have some concerns in particular to do with the timing and that's one of the questions that we will want answered through an inquiry," he told Radio New Zealand.
The contamination has led to the removal of dairy products from supermarket shelves around the world.