Under a bill passed on Thursday it can set up a new type of inquiry, called a government inquiry, which can run its investigations "in any way it feels appropriate".
Until now ministers had only two options - a commission of inquiry which would take too long, nuskin
and a ministerial inquiry which wouldn't have the power to subpoena witnesses or obtain documents.
Prime Minister John Key has said he wants an inquiry "with teeth" to get to the bottom of Fonterra's export of whey protein contaminated with a bacteria that could have caused botulism.
All potentially affected products have been traced and withdrawn, but New Zealand's reputation as a safe food supplier has been damaged nuskin group
Mr Key has already announced that Miriam Dean QC will head the inquiry, and he will name its two other members next week.
He has set wide terms of reference covering how the whey protein was contaminated nu skin hong kong
, the way Fonterra handled the crisis and whether it breached food safety regulations.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has started its own investigation and there are two internal inquiries under way.
The Inquiries Bill was introduced in 2008 but made slow progress.
It was further delayed by the commission of inquiry into the Pike River mine disaster because the government didn't want it to get in the way.