Qatar steps up safety measures against contaminated milk formula
Due to a contamination threat, popular infant formula Similac Gain Plus, manufactured by New Zealand’s diary company Fonterra, was recently recalled from store shelves in Qatar. Responding to this, Qatar’s Permanent Committee for Monitoring Human Foods has taken stringent steps to stop the entry of the contaminated milk product into the country. The Committee, in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, will also be performing laboratory examinations of samples collected from other Fonterra products in the local markets, to ensure that they are free from contamination.
A report by Al Jazeera said that Fonterra had announced on Monday that it had found toxic bacteria ‘Clostridium botulinum’ in its whey protein concentrate that could cause botulism. The concentrate that is used in products including infant milk powder and sports drinks had been exported to China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
Clostridium botulinum is a toxic bacteria that causes botulism, a potentially fatal paralytic illness. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and paralysis.
According to a report in Gulf Times, none of Fonterra’s infant formula, follow-on formula and growing up milk products were in stock in Qatar. Other countries that have recalled the Fonterra product are China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. However, Danone and Abbott Laboratories’ (ABT) baby formula milk products, which use Fonterra ingredients, were still being sold in Qatar. ABT is said to have taken precautionary recalls as well. Fonterra Middle East Africa has also said that other Fonterra branded consumer products such as Anchor, Anlene and Chesdale were not contaminated.
Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings issued an apology today over the anxiety caused over this matter.