An independent inquiry into the botulism scare that occurred at Fonterra’s Hautapu plant has concluded that Fonterra milk tastes “really good”, that its management and staff are “really welcoming”, and that, generally speaking, they had a really great weekend at Fonterra’s Auckland headquarters.
The inquiry – which was commissioned by the company’s dairy board and carried out by a legal team from Chapman Tripp – was conducted over a number of weeks, in which investigators were invited deep into the heart of the Waikato plant at the centre of the August contamination scare. There they were given access to “all kinds of neat things,” free milk, and a private, up-close-and-personal concert played by Neil Finn and Opshop.
The team of investigators, who were seen yesterday leaving Fonterra’s Auckland headquarters with a number of large goodie bags, delivered their findings at a long-anticipated press conference this afternoon.
“Contrary to damning reports found in the media and elsewhere,” said chief investigator Darryl Osborne, “our inquiry has found that a relatively minor incident in August of this year has distracted from the more overlooked fact that Fonterra is one of the greatest companies to ever have been established in New Zealand.”
Osborne confirmed that the “I love Fonterra” t-shirt he was wearing was provided by the company, but insisted that he chose to wear it out of his own free will.
“No, I wear this all the time,” he explained. “It goes with my shoes.”
Prime Minister John Key welcomed the findings of the inquiry, saying that it dealt with New Zealanders’ concerns “well enough.” He explained that the botulism scare had a series of complex causes, and was sort of like “an airline crash.”
“A lot of times I think it’s a bit like an airline crash,” he said, “where no one individual thing tends to cause it, when you go and, you know, put the pieces back together again. But it’s a series of different things which come together and cause a catastrophe, and you know, when you’re flying, you get some milk and some ice cream, yeah.”
Also welcoming the results of the inquiry was Fonterra’s own chairman, John Wilson, who said the final report gave him “great confidence” that his company would be able to maintain its reputation “next time this happens.”
Earlier in the day, Wilson had baked brownies and handed them out to waiting media at the press conference, which everyone agreed was “nice of him.”