The Ministry for Primary Industries investigation involves 20 people who will study Fonterra's role in the botulism crisis from the time anomalies in testing initially arose string embroidery.
It will painstakingly detail the company's processes, including its questionable public response once it confirmed 38 tonnes of whey protein had been contaminated.
No one fell ill from the contaminated product, but there was considerable confusion around the recall.
Monday's announcement comes on the same day as Fonterra unveiled its two inquiries case for samsung galaxy
, one by Fonterra itself and a separate independent inquiry committee led by the firm's board.
The ministry's director-general Scott Gallacher says the government investigation will look closely at the timing of events around the scandal and whether or not food safety rules were broken.
"I have said a number of times since MPI was first notified on Friday August 2 of this issue, that we have a number of questions about it, including when relevant parties were informed, and when they should have been informed," Mr Gallacher said.
The investigation is likely to take three to six months.
Maximum penalties for breaching the food safety regulations range from $100,000 to $500,000, and may include to 12 months imprisonment.
Fonterra's own review will be led by the company's group director of strategy, Maury Leyland, and will be completed in just three weeks.
"We are conducting the review to find out why this happened, prevent it from happening again, and ensure we take all steps necessary to maintain our global leadership position within the dairy industry," Ms Leyland said.
The board's inquiry will involve retired High Court judge Dame Judith Potter and an as yet unnamed senior scientist who will sit on a committee together with five board members.
At the weekend Zhang Fan, the Chinese embassy in New Zealand's economic counsellor, nu skin product
told TV3 China was seeking improvements in Fonterra operations.
"Mistakes should not be repeated again and again. Three times and you are out," he said.
Fonterra chairman John Wilson says he has complete confidence that Fonterra's chief executive Theo Spierings had made the right decisions but admits there were lessons to be learned.
"It is critical that we identify these lessons quickly so our farmers, governments, customers, consumers and unit holders can again have full confidence in Fonterra and its products," Mr Wilson said.