Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) said no reports of illness associated with products containing a potentially contaminated dairy food ingredient from New Zealand in Australia has been made so far.New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra recently revealed a whey product used to make infant formula and sports drinks had been contaminated with a bacteria that can cause the potentially fatal paralytic illness and botulism, Xinhua news agency reported.
The products had been exported to Australia, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Fonterra is recalling 1,000 tonnes of the dairy products.
Australia has received two batches of the potentially contaminated ingredient from New Zealand, the Food Standard Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said.
“One failed a test for the presence of Clostridia botulinum (which can cause botulism) so was not allowed to be sold for human consumption. Some of this product may have been sold as stockfeed and tracing of this product has commenced,” FSANZ said.
A second consignment was used as an ingredient in products that have been exported to New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia and China. The consignments were tested for Clostridia bacteria and found to meet commercial specifications for export.
The Australian government is working with the importing countries to trace the product.
DAFF said they are working with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries to verify that these are the only affected products.
However, as a cautionary measure parents have been advised to use alternative brands of infant formula.
Nutricia, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of baby formula, said none of its products in Australia has been affected by the contamination scare and has recalled two products in Australia.
The Australian government is continuing to verify whether there are or have been any products for sale in Australia that contain a potentially contaminated dairy food ingredient from New Zealand.
Local media said an expert in bovine medicine at Melbourne University’s Veterinary faculty confirmed there is only a low risk to calves from product contaminated by botulism, and a low risk to milk formula.
“Fonterra has identified a problem with whey protein, they’ve withdrawn those products because of a potential risk. But I don’t think there’s a substantial risk to humans from that product,” the expert told ABC.