Man jailed over infant formula poisoning threats in NZ
A New Zealand man will serve eight and a half years in prison for sending letters saying he would poison Fonterra and Federated Farmers infant formula unless they complied with his demands.
The man, Jeremy Kerr, had business interests in a pesticide competing against the one which Fonterra and Federated Farmers use.
In attempts to increase his business, Kerr wrote letters in 2014 claiming he would poison infant formula being exporting internationally unless his competitor’s “1080” pesticide was no longer used.
The threats initiated a large scale investigation with DNA evidence eventually linking Kerr to the letters in 2015.
Kerr’s legal defence stated in the New Zealand High Court that he never intended to actually go through with the threats and that he was suffering mental health issues when he wrote to the infant formula groups.
Justice Venning said he understood that the man never meant to follow through on his threats, however his action risked New Zealand’s reputation internationally. The judge also stated that the letters and subsequent investigation had cost Fonterra, Federated Farmers, police and other New Zealand organisations a combined sum of NZ $28 million.