Friday, July 8, 2022

Ministry uses legal powers to name whey scare products

Fonterra crisis update The Primary Industries Ministry has used its legal powers to name products being sold in New Zealand that might contain Fonterra whey contaminated with a toxin and issued a warning not to used them.

Nutricia Karicare follow-on formula products for children from six months old have been contaminated but none has gone on sale.

All the contaminated products have been accounted for by Fonterra but the ministry warned parents to use Nutricia powder  for infants up to six months instead or to switch to other brands until it can itself confirm the information supplied by Fonterra.

The ministry also named the Fonterra plant responsible for the safety scare at Hautapu in Waikato.

Ministry acting director-general Scott Gallacher used powers under the Animal Products Act and the Food Act to identify the products.
“Since we were informed by Fonterra yesterday afternoon that three batches of concentrated whey protein contain Clostridium botulinum, MPI has been working intensively to identify what, if any, products on the NZ market may be contaminated,” Gallacher said.
“The batches of whey product have been on-sold and mixed with other ingredients to form 870 tonnes of consumer products sold in a variety of markets.

”I am now publishing a statement under the Animal Products Act 1999 and Food Act 1981 identifying the following products in New Zealand: Nutricia Karicare follow-on formula products for children from sxi months old.
 “MPI has been advised that in the case of the Nutricia Karicare, five batches of follow-on formula were manufactured using the contaminated whey protein,” Gallacher said.
“Nutricia has advised that three of those batches are in a warehouse in Auckland, one is on a ship and the other is in storage in Australia.

“Nutricia has advised it has locked down those batches and they will not be sold on the market.
“MPI is still in the process of verifying this information and today sent a team to Nutricia’s Auckland warehouses.
“Until this process is completed I advise parents and caregivers with infants consuming Nutricia Karicare follow on formula products from six months to use infant formula for children aged 0-6 months, ready-made formulas or alternative brands.
“MPI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are continuing to work with overseas regulators to provide information as it becomes available.

“Clearly, a number of markets are very concerned about this situation,” Gallacher said.

Fonterra told the ministry about the food safety issue involving three batches of whey concentrate at 12.35pm yesterday then at 7pm told it that products made by Nutricia contained whey from those batches and were present in New Zealand.

He then issued numbers for concerned parents and caregivers to call.
“lf your concern is for health reasons, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or Plunketline 0800 933 922 for advice.
“lf your concern is about other aspects of these products, please call the Ministry for Primary Industries’ consumer helpline on 0800 893 721.
Nutricia Karicare Follow-on formula products are sold through retail outlets such as supermarkets mainly in 9009 tins.

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye encouraged consumers to heed the advice given.

Government officials were working continuously to ensure public safety.

“I have been briefed regularly over the past 24 hours.

“MPI has co-ordinated a cross-agency group of officials from MPI, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ministry of Health to deliver the Government’s response to this notification and to obtain as much information as possible so the public can be appropriately informed,” Kaye says.
“My primary concern is that people are safe and that the public have the information they need to keep them safe.
“I advise parents and caregivers to take a precautionary approach and seek health advice if they have any concerns.”
Kaye said she will be closely monitoring all developments on this issue.
“I am receiving regular briefings and officials will provide further updates to the public when new information becomes available. Trade Minister Tim Groser is also being briefed.”

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