More infant formula recalled

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-7 0:28:01

For more, see our Daily Special: Dairy giant Fonterra recalls infant formula under botulism alert

China's consumer quality watchdog said Tuesday that it has asked the Chinese branch of US infant formula producer Abbott Laboratories to recall two batches of potentially tainted milk powder over botulism concerns.

The latest recall by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine was made following the New Zealand embassy in China's alert Monday that the two batches of Abbott powder manufactured by Fonterra, the New Zealand dairy giant, may have been tainted by clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Abbott said Monday night that the two batches of Stage 3 infant formula, not made from contaminated raw materials from Fonterra, were packaged in Fonterra's production lines in New Zealand, which were not fully sanitized after producing tainted goods.

Abbott said it has started preemptive recalls of the products manufactured on May 2. The recall affects 7,181 boxes of products, of which 112 have already been sold. The remainder in inventory has been sealed.

The massive recall started after Fonterra said Friday some of its whey protein concentrate was found to be contaminated. The affected concentrate, used in products including infant milk powder and sports drinks, had been exported to China and made into infant formula.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key also said he would probably visit China to explain the scandal himself.

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings apologized in Beijing Monday, promising that all contaminated products would be recalled and controlled in the next 48 hours. Many affected dairies said none of them could complete the recall in two days.

"The administration's move shows China's firm stance on making the involved companies follow strict quality control over their products," Cao Mingshi, a vice general secretary of the Shanghai Dairy Association, told the Global Times.

On Tuesday the State Food and Drug Administration also published a draft regulation on infant formula production to seek public opinions, which will raise standards in the sector. The regulation took the requirements for pharmaceutical producers as reference.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in Hong Kong also said Monday that it had initiated a recall of more than 80,000 cans of affected products that have entered Hong Kong and Macao, while those stored in the importer's warehouse were sealed.

The recalls will have a negative impact on the industry of New Zealand, Cao said, noting that the ban will not last long as the country relies a lot on them.

"Among 600,000 tons of milk powder imported in China in 2012, some 78 percent came from New Zealand," he said.

Baby formula producer Danone Dumex also recalled possibly affected powder formula in Singapore out of safety concerns after receiving a warning from Fonterra.

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