As the contaminated milk scandal spirals, Fonterra CEO, Andrew Ferrier, said it was extremely difficult to predict “criminal contamination.
“This is a lot bigger than just Fonterra – this is the whole industry,” he said.
Ferrier said that dairy companies could not test for every known poison.
“To our knowledge, there isn’t a dairy company in the world which tests for melamine because it’s not a naturally occurring substance in milk,” he said.
“If somebody breaks the law and puts a poison chemical in the milk, we’re all vulnerable to that”.
He said Fonterra had worked aggressively with Sanlu and had confidence in its quality control, but it was difficult to predict “criminal contamination.”
“We invested in a local company under the expectation that we could continue to bring in quality rules and procedures to make sure product was healthy for Chinese consumers.”
Ferrier said Fonterra wasn’t concerned about how much money this would cost the company or how much damage it would do to Fonterra’s reputation. He said he was worried about the babies.
“And, you know, obviously nobody wants to be in this situation. And so if there’s anything we could have done to have prevented it, we sure as hell wish we could have.”