Botulism Scare Prompts Fonterra Product Recall

NEW ZEALAND – Dairy cooperative Fonterra has issued a product recall after milk powder products were found tainted with a bacteria that can cause botulism in humans.
calendar icon 6 August 2013
clock icon 2 minute read

Fonterra alerted consumers on Saturday after Clostridium Botulinum bacteria was identified in milk powders from a whey protein plant, destined for use in infant formula blends.

Specifically, the products posing a bacterial risk are Fonterra whey powder and Fonterra dairy base whey powder.

The New Zealand government  recalled 1,000 tons of dairy products across seven countries.

Fonterra believes China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia to be affected, as well as domestic consumers.

Chinese and Russian governments have reacted by announcing a temporary suspension. 

Gary Romano, Managing Director at Fonterra reassured that the Chinese ruling was not a blanket ban and only applied to the infant formula area of the market.

A government warning has been circulated instructing state authorities at risk from the bacteria to action whey protein sampling to secure food safety.

However, approximately 90 per cent of the contaminated product has already been located by tracking records, according to Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce.

One shipment, suspected of being contaminated, was intercepted on route to Australia.

Meanwhile, Fonterra has reassured that it will continue to work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Mr Romano said: “Our top priority is the safety of consumers, and working with customers and regulators to make sure the public is protected.

Brands posing a risk to New Zealand consumers have been confirmed as;

• Nutricia Karicare Stage 1 New Baby Infant Formula (from birth)
• Nutricia Karicare Gold+ Stage 2 Follow On Formula (from six months)

Mr Romano added: “We share the New Zealand Government’s objective of minimising any damage to New Zealand’s economy and reputation by restoring market confidence in New Zealand dairy products as soon as possible.

"We are fully committed to allaying current concerns as quickly and effectively as we can.”

So far, no cases of botulism have been directly linked with Fonterra products.


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