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Experts say only thing botulism kills is spying scandal

Experts suggest New Zealanders avoid drinking any milk that looks like this.

Experts suggest New Zealanders avoid drinking any milk that looks like this.

Prominent medical experts say that even in the unlikely event that Fonterra’s contaminated whey product did cause botulism in some children, the risk of their death is exceedingly low, and the only thing that botulism is a real threat to is coverage of a major spying scandal involving the New Zealand Government.

“Botulism is a very, very serious disease,” said Kurt Krause, a professor of medicine at Otago University, “so we’re not trying to downplay that. But people should be reassured that the bacteria suspected to be in some of the product is unlikely to actually cause botulism in any children, and even if it did, the number of those who die from the disease in the western world is so small as to be negligible.

“On the other hand, the one thing botulism really can kill is a spying scandal.”

It is unclear how much of Fonterra’s whey protein had been contaminated by bacteria from an unclean pipe at its Hautapu plant, but already the scandal surrounding the unauthorised acquisition of phone records belonging to Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance had suffered severe casualties. News stories about the scandal today were only one quarter of what they were several days prior, while several journalists had already fallen severely ill with an obligation to write about something different.

“Generally speaking, people don’t worry so much about abstract principles of privacy that apply to those who aren’t like them,” said Krause, explaining how botulism affects the internal organs of other major news events. “They’re much more likely to care about things in their food that they perceive could kill them. For example, did you know that apple juice contains arsenic?”

Prime Minister John Key addressed the situation today, saying that as he understood it, there had been some “yucky in a pipe someplace,” but that he was “satisfied” with how things were unfolding thus far.

He said that while it was “unfortunate” that the spying scandal had contracted botulism, he was sure that there were “plenty more” scandals lying about.

When asked about the potential economic ramifications of the botulism scare, Key said he believed most New Zealanders would agree that “there is some kind of bad thing going on.”

The effects of the scare were most apparent in Parliament today, where Labour Leader David Shearer began by asking exactly when the Prime Minister knew that Vance’s phone records had been handed over to the inquiry investigating the premature leak of the Kitteridge report.

“Point of order, Mr. Speaker,” interrupted Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee. “I’m not sure if the member is aware, but that particular issue was not in the news today.”

House Speaker David Carter agreed that the issue had not been in the news, and ruled the question out of order.

It is expected that the spying scandal that plagued the Government last week will be further eclipsed in the near future after a puppy was killed in Auckland today.