Fonterra CEO says NZ regulators auditing plants

WELLINGTON - New Zealand food safety regulators have been inspecting Fonterra's processing plants, including one that produced contaminated dairy products that triggered a global food safety scare, the company said on Thursday.

"(The) Hautapu (plant) has been done by the MPI, where it started with the whey protein concentrate, but the quality looks good," Fonterra Chief Executive Officer Theo Spierings told a media conference at the New Zealand company's headquarters in Auckland on Thursday.

He added that the Ministry of Primary Industries was inspecting other facilities, while the company was also conducting audits at plants.

"We do know what happened, but I do not know why so there will be an investigation," he added. "It will not take months, it will take weeks."

Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, has come under fire at home and abroad for dragging its feet in saying it sold whey protein products that contained a bacteria which can cause botulism - a potentially fatal food poisoning.

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