Fonterra's botulism scare a key theme for China summit

By Christopher Adams

Photo / Christine Cornege
Photo / Christine Cornege

Fonterra's botulism scare will be one of the key themes of this year's China Business Summit, which takes place today.

But Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett says the event will cover many more topics than just the August contamination debacle that turned out to be a false alarm.

"The programme's probably more designed to look at what industry sectors have done to build a positive reputation [in China] and some of the results that they're getting," Barnett said.

"Inevitably the issue around botulism will come up and the way that it's been handled and how New Zealand needs to behave in the future."

While further testing ruled out the presence of a botulism-causing bacterium in 38 tonnes of Fonterra whey protein, the scare nonetheless damaged this country's reputation for safe food products in the lucrative Chinese market. Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings, Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon and Anzco Foods chairman Sir Graeme Harrison will take part in a panel discussion at the Auckland summit titled: "Restoring Trust with China - View from the Top Table."

Another session featuring Michael Chu, chief strategy officer for Ogilvy Public Relations in China, will cover "managing a PR crisis in China".

Other sessions will cover issues such as the use of social media to build brands in China.

Trade Minister Tim Groser will deliver the opening address at this year's summit.

- NZ Herald

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