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Oh dear oh dear. Leaked documents showing Ministry of Health advice to Tony Ryall and Jo Goodhew over the Fonterra botulism scare point to the MOH being woefully underprepared for an outbreak.
Remember just a few months ago, Botulism Siouxie – recent recipient of the $100,000 Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, caused widespread angst by saying “Botulinum toxin A is one of the most toxic substance known to man. One kilogram of it would be enough to kill the entire human population”.
You’d hope the MOH would be able to cope, but documents show an alarming admission.
In an August 2013 MOH Situation Report, the Acting Director of Public Health, Dr Fran McGrath provided an update on the MOH’s actions in response to Fonterra’s contaminated Whey Protein Concentrate and Nutricia Karicare Recall.
McGrath must have been desperate to give Ministers confidence that the MOH was all over the issue like a rash, especially just in case botulism started spreading like wildfire among the population.
At the start of the SitRep, McGrath states “There have been no cases of infant botulism reported in New Zealand in the last 20 years”. From that you’d expect a sigh of relief from Ministers. Read more »