Fonterra must stump up $NZ300,000, or just over $A280,000, in charges over last year's whey protein contamination scare.

The company previously said it would plead guilty in court to the charges that were recently filed by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI).

Judge Hobbs said he accepted the scare resulted from "carelessness and failure to follow procedures" rather than any deliberate action.

However, the judge noted the need to hold Fonterra to account for the impact the scare had on New Zealand's reputation as a safe food exporter, which had left New Zealand's reputation as a high quality food exporter shaken and had had a downstream impact on dairy producers.

At the time it was thought that 38 tonnes of whey protein concentrate had been contaminated with a botulism, which triggered a global recall. Testing later confirmed the scare was a false alarm.

These charges, however, are eclipsed by a claim of more than $500 million from French food giant Danone, which is suing Fonterra for losses on infant formula made from the whey protein.

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