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Sorry New Zealand, Botulism Test Wrong

Dairy products made by the New Zealand company Fonterra that were at the center of a global contamination scare this month did not contain a bacterium that could cause botulism and posed no food safety threat, New Zealand officials said on Wednesday.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said tests showed that whey protein concentrate manufactured by the world’s largest dairy processor contained Clostridium sporogenes, which cannot cause botulism but which at elevated levels can be associated with food spoiling.

Initial tests conducted by Fonterra and a New Zealand government research institute had indicated the presence of Clostridium botulinum, raising fears that infant formula and sports drinks made from the product and widely exported could be dangerous.

The botulism scare caused a recall of products made by multinational brands that may have contained the whey protein in markets like China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It also prompted bans in Russia and Sri Lanka.

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