Tainted formula passed tests pre export, says manufacturer
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Tainted-formula-passed-tests-pre-export-says-manufacturer
By Jane Byrne, 18-Feb-2009
safety officials in South
Korea said that they found a meningitis
causing bacteria in a French baby formula product but the company in question
said the product was deemed safe following tests.
Korean National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) said it
detected a strain called enterobacter sakazaki in a shipment of 135 kilograms of canned
organic formula imported last month from French producer, Vitagermine.
the Bordeaux-based formula manufacturer said that the batch of Babynat had been analysed prior to shipment by external
laboratories in accordance with EU standards: “These analyses did not
reveal any bacteria.”
E. sakazaki has been classified as a harmful
strain of bacteria by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is said to pose
health risks for people with weak immune systems and newborn babies. The
bacteria, which usually affect babies under five months old, can cause
meningitis and enteritis and in serious cases lead to death.
to the NVRQS eight shipments of the product weighing a total of 1,492 kilos
have been imported into South
Korea since December 2007 and six of these
shipments, totalling 1,222 kilos, reached the market.
Korean inspectors said they are checking another 135kg package of the formula
that arrived last week for similar contamination.
Vitagermine added that, as a precautionary measure,
it is undertaking verification of all its products in close collaboration
with the French authorities.
makers have speared opportunities in the market for milk formulas that meet
the dietary needs of infants and counter-balance deficiency needs. The
European infant formula
market alone is estimated to be worth about €600m.
infant formula has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons recently
after it emerged that milk powder for infants in China was found to have been
contaminated with melamine, and US produced infant formula also was found to
contain the chemical, albeit at levels too low to pose any public health
the Chinese scandal, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) urged
infant formula manufacturers to invest further in safety controls in order to
regain public confidence.
Rundall, policy director of Baby Milk Action, a
group which campaigns to promote breast-feeding and to make formula feeding
safer, said that infant formula is not a sterile product and is not being
tested enough to ensure its safety.
she told FoodProductionDaily.com that parents need to be made more aware of
the potential risk of infection involved when opting for artificial feeding.
Schlundt, director of the WHO food safety
department, said: "While breastfeeding is the ideal way of providing
infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development - it
is also critical to ensure that there is an adequate supply of safe powdered
infant formula to meet the needs of infants who are not breastfed.”