Sunday, July 3, 2022

Products recalled or banned as whey scandal hits world headlines

Infant and calf feeds on sale in New Zealand are being recalled as the Fonterra whey scandal becomes front page news around the world with China and Russia banning NZ dairy products.

The Government now has 60 diplomats, food safety and health officials working to deal with the fallout.

The Ministry for Primary Industries this afternoon said it had now received further information from Fonterra relating to batches of infant formula base powder containing whey protein that might have been contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.
The infant formula base was supplied to Nutricia from Fonterra and was likely to have been made into infant formulas, some of which might be on sale.
As a result Nutricia instigated a precautionary recall in NZ of the following products:

  • Karicare Infant Formula Stage 1 (0–6 months) in NZ only with batch numbers 3169 and 3170 (use by 17 06 2016 and 18 06 2016). The batch number and use-by date can be found on the base of the tin.
  • Karicare Gold+ Follow On Formula Stage 2 (6–12 months) in NZ only with batch number D3183 (use by 31 12 2014). The batch number and use by date can be found on the base of the tin.

For more information, see http://www.nutriciababy.co.nz/main/aboutus/news.
MPI said it was working to establish whether any other specific products and batches might contain the whey protein and the location of any affected batches.
“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,” the statement said.
Anyone with any health concerns is urged to contact their local health professional or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or Plunketline on 0800 933 922 for advice.
Anyone who has questions about a product can call MPI’s consumer helpline on 0800 693 721.

Late this afternoon Fonterra said its animal feed subsidiary, NZAgbiz, which is one of the eight customers that received affected whey protein concentrate (WPC80), had completed a thorough inventory of its animal feed products and as a result had immediately recalled a small amount of calf milk replacer sold in the North Island.
Fonterra managing director of NZ Milk Products Gary Romano said “This afternoon NZAgbiz confirmed that a very small amount of calf milk replacer containing the affected WPC80 has been sold to customers in the North Island and for this reason it has initiated a product recall.”
Fonterra veterinarian Lindsay Burton said “Although the health risk posed by the affected calf milk replacer is very small, NZAgbiz is right not to compromise on safety standards and to advise customers who may have the affected product to return it to the place of purchase.”
NZAgbiz does not produce any products for human consumption.

Its general manager Justine Pearce said “After a comprehensive inventory assessment we have found that the majority of affected product is still in our stock and that a small amount has been sold to customers in the North Island.
“As a result we are acting immediately to recall this product. We have alerted the Ministry for Primary Industries and, where possible, are contacting customers directly.
“We have also sought and received expert advice which has confirmed that the risk to animal health from consuming the feed is low.
“We place absolute importance on the safety of our customers’ animals and as such, we are recalling all affected product,” Pearce said.

The affected products are:
Ancalf calf milk replacer with batch numbers:

  • • JX24 X6494 to JX24 X6509
  • • JX26 X6542 to JX26 X6573

Brown Bag calf milk replacer with batch numbers:

  • • IX21-B0974
  • • IX21-B0975
  • • IX21-B0979
  • • IX21-B0983

Eight customers in six countries received contaminated whey from the 38-tonne batch produced by Fonterra at Hautapu.
International media reports suggested Russia had banned all New Zealand dairy imports including fresh products which were known not to be affected, BusinessDesk reported.

The Chinese food safety authority, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine ordered products containing Fonterra ingredients off supermarket shelves in China and the issue has made the front page of the Financial Times website and is being reported throughout Australian, Asian and by global media including Al Jazeera, the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian.
Much of batch of WPC80 concentrate was shipped after manufacture in May last year to eight customers in six countries: Australia, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam, Trade Minister Tim Groser revealed this weekend. Such products are widely exported within Asia.
No overseas food manufacturer for human consumption had yet announced a product recall, although Fonterra indicated its notification was a trigger for customers to consider such a move.
The announcement is potential bombshell for the country's all-important dairy industry.
The food safety scare is the third to have caught Fonterra since a scandal in 2008, when the adulteration of raw milk by Chinese dairy farmers with a chemical, melamine, caused deaths and serious illness for thousands of Chinese children. Fonterra owned 43% of SanLu, which closed down because of the disaster.
Groser today described the situation as "very serious" and vowed attention in the first instance on the health of "the little babies" potentially affected, before turning to questions of blame.

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