6 Aug 2013

Minister says Fonterra will have to answer questions

10:19 pm on 6 August 2013

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says farmers have been contacting him with their concerns about the way Fonterra has handled the botulism scare.

Nathan Guy.

Nathan Guy. Photo: RNZ

Mr Guy said on Tuesday there are many questions shareholders and the Government want answers to about the time it took Fonterra to pick up and report the problem with the contamination of whey protein from its processing plant in Waikato.

He said those questions would be worked through at the appropriate time.

Mr Guy has not been one of the ministers seen to be fronting the matter, but said he is part of the team of ministers working on the crisis.

Meanwhile, the president of a professional farming body believes some good may yet come of the contamination of Fonterra-sourced milk products.

The New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management began its annual conference in Lincoln, near Christchurch on Monday.

President Hilton Collier said the Chinese will appreciate New Zealand's swift response and some good may even come of it.

He says by showing concern for the wellbeing of consumers, the Government and Fonterra are demonstrating to the Chinese the integrity of their systems.

Mr Collier says the contamination scare underlines how important it is for the rural sector to pay close attention to everything it does.