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Continued: New Zealand botulism scare triggers recall of up to 1,000 tons of dairy items in 7 countries

  • Article by: NICK PERRY , Associated Press
  • Last update: August 3, 2013 - 5:50 PM

New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries said it was working with the company to investigate.

Spierings, the chief executive, said in the release that food safety was the company's top priority.

"We are acting quickly," he said. "Our focus is to get information out about potentially affected product as fast as possible so that it can be taken off supermarket shelves and, where it has already been purchased, can be returned."

Earlier this year, Fonterra announced it had discovered trace amounts of the agricultural chemical dicyandiamide in some of its products, prompting a ban on the chemical's use on New Zealand farms.

Rabobank's 2012 Global Dairy Top 20 report ranked Fonterra as the world's fourth-largest dairy company by revenue behind Nestlé, Danone and Lactalis. The company is a cooperative, partially owned by thousands of farmers.

In 2011 the company collected 15.4 billion liters (4.1 billion gallons) of milk in New Zealand, representing about 90 percent of the country's total.

In 2008, six babies in China died and another 300,000 were sickened by infant formula that was tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical added to watered-down milk to fool tests for protein levels. Fonterra at the time owned a minority stake in Sanlu, the now-bankrupt Chinese company at the center of the scandal.

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