Friday, July 8, 2022

MPI extends infant formula “don’t use” notice

Infant formula update The Ministry for Primary Industries this morning further expanded its precautionary advice about Nutricia infant formula products.

But the firm itself was still advising parents only products with specific batch numbers and use-by dates were affected even though testing had indicated none of its products sold in New Zealand showed any contamination.

However, MPI acting director-general Scott Gallacher says the Ministry now recommended parents and caregivers avoid feeding any of two products from the Karicare range to their infants until freedom from contamination with the bacterium Clostridium botulinum could be confirmed.

“MPI has not been able to fully trace through Nutricia's supply chain which specific batches of its products may contain contaminated whey protein and which don't and whether affected batches are in New Zealand stores.

"It may be over the coming days the company can provide this information which would allow me to be assured of the safety of these products,” Gallacher said.

"But in the meantime I have decided to expand my precautionary advice and have issued another formal Director-General Statement under the Animal Products Act 1999 and the Food Act 1981.”

In his statement MPI now advised it could not rule out the following Nutricia Karicare products as potentially contaminated and recommended they not be fed to children until further notice.

  • Nutricia Karicare Infant Formula Stage 1 for babies from birth.
  • Nutricia Karicare Stage 2 Follow-on formula for children from six months old.

“MPI now recommends parents and caregivers use alternative products until further notice.

"Until we get more certainty around those Karicare products outlined above I am asking parents not to use them and use an alternative product in the meantime," Gallacher said.

"MPI is working closely with industry and the Ministry of Health to ensure there are sufficient alternative infant formula products on the market and we will be closely monitoring supply until this matter is resolved."

Gallacher said MPI had no information to suggest any other infant formula products on the NZ market were affected.

“MPI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are working with regulatory authorities in the relevant international markets to provide them with new information in relation to this development as soon as possible.”

Nutricia said information from Fonterra initially said none of Nutricia’s products contained the contaminated whey but further and later information from Fonterra prompted it to instigate a precautionary recall in New Zealand.

“The safety of our consumers is our primary concern,” it said.

Nutricia said its recall was for only batch numbers 3169 and 3170 of Karicare Infant Formula Stage 1 (0–6 months) sold in NZ and batch number D3183 of Karicare Gold+ Follow On Formula Stage 2 (6–12 months), also sold in NZ.

Anyone who had recently bought products with the batch numbers detailed could return them to the place of sale for a full refund.

Consumer support:

  • If you have any health concerns call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or Plunketline on 0800 933 922 for advice.
  • If you have questions about a product call MPI's consumer helpline on 0800 693 721.

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