Health Ministry to Probe Suspect Baby Formula

The Ministry of Health will investigate a baby milk formula sold in Cambodia that has been recalled over a risk it contains bacteria that causes botulism, an official said Tuesday.

New Zealand dairy company Fonterra has advised eight companies that bought a whey protein concentrate produced at a single site in May 2012 that they should recall any products containing the ingredient. The an­nounce­ment has led China and Russia to ban the import of certain products and Vietnam has recalled its products.

One of the companies is Paris-based Danone, which makes infant formula under the Dumex brand, distributed by DKSH Cambodia Ltd.

“Fonterra on Saturday informed DKSH Cambodia Ltd., Dumex Office that one of their ingredients had a potential quality issue,” the company announced on its website Sunday, adding that it had not been made aware until that day that there was a possibility of contamination.

“None of the products tested and sold in Cambodia indicate any contamination. However, given the new information supplied by Fonterra, we have taken the decision to make a precautionary recall on specific products,” the statement says, listing eight specific batches of the Dumex Dupro and Dumex Dulac products that are being recalled.

“If you have been using these products to feed your infant and your child shows any sign of illness, please contact your health care professional as a precautionary measure,” it continues.

Chou Yinsim, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, said officials had learned that the powder sold in Cambodia could be contaminated with botulism-causing bacteria—which can prove fatal.

“This bacteria can affect children’s nervous system. It might be in the Dumex products, but right now there are no children affected,” he said, adding that the company had been given four days to collect all the possibly contaminated products.

“When the company has collected all the products, we will go to examine them and burn them all.”

A statement from Fonterra said Tuesday that the customers supplied with potentially contaminated whey protein concentrate included Danone, Australian animal feed company Maxum, Chinese food and drink firm Wahaha, Coca Cola in China and New Zealand companies Vitac and NZAgBiz, as well as two other companies it was “not in a position to identify.”

“Fonterra has been working with customers and regulators,” the statement says.

“Customers have been urgently investigating whether any of the affected product is in their supply chains and some of these customers have now taken action to recall affected product from the market.”

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