8 Aug 2013

Fonterra in talks with FMA over timing of announcement

8:56 am on 8 August 2013

Fonterra is in talks with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) over the timing of its announcement to the markets about its contamination scare but says it believes it has met its disclosure obligations.

The FMA says it is concerned about the time it took for the diary co-operative to disclose the information.

Testing in March this year indicated a problem and the whey tested positive for clostridium botulinum on Wednesday 31 July. Fonterra told the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on Friday afternoon, the public found out on Saturday and an announcement was released through the NZX on Monday.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says the dairy co-operative is discussing the matter with the FMA.

"They said we should have informed them on the 31st, but if you have not answered the question food safety risk yes or no, then you inform the board, then you inform MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries), then you inform the FMA. But that was already after closing on Friday."

The NZX-listed Fonterra shares, which only dairy farmers can own, and Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units, which anybody can own, slumped on Monday but have since recovered.