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Latest situation of follow-up on infant formula product suspected to be affected by Clostridium botulinum

Various government departments and agencies including the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Department of Health (DH) and Hospital Authority (HA) continue to follow up on the case of infant formula products suspected to be affected by Clostridium botulinum. No new reports of food products being affected were received today (August 7).

A spokesman for the Government said today that the New Zealand authority had confirmed with the CFS that a current precautionary recall of all batches of Karicare Stage 1 New Baby Infant Formula and Karicare Gold + Stage 2 Follow On Formula instigated by Nutricia of New Zealand is limited to those within New Zealand only.

As to the precautionary recall exercise of over 80 000 tins of Cow & Gate Happy Kid 3 (growing up formula for 1 to 3 years old) (batches 3178 and 3179) available in the local market, the relevant supplier said that arrangements had been made with retailers and that their hotline was operating smoothly.

The spokesman said, currently New Zealand dairy products targetting Hong Kong infants under one year old are mainly baby and infant formulae. As a result of the food incident, the CFS has started today sampling of infant formulae manufactured by New Zealand for infants under one year old from local outlets to test if they have been affected by Clostridium botulinum. Results are expected in a few weeks. Depending on the development, the CFS would consider sampling other food products suspected of contamination from the local market for testing. In addition to alerting the trade of the incident concerning Fonterra's products, the CFS has continued to deploy staff to conduct checks at retail outlets. So far no other affected products required to be recalled known to the CFS has been found on sale in the local market.

The CFS will continue to closely liaise and co-operate with the New Zealand authority, the State General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and major local food supplier to keep an eye on the developments of the matters. No affected products have been reported to enter Hong Kong so far.

The hotlines set up by the CFS and the DH for the incident have operated smoothly so far. As at 3pm today, the CFS' hotline 3978 0600 received 882 enquiries; whilst the DH's hotline 2125 1111 received 282 enquiries.

Among the enquiries received by the DH, six said their children were presented with mild symptoms like fever, decreased feeding, sleepiness and weakness. Officers of the hotline advised the parents to seek medical advice. But none of the enquiries were related to suspected Botulism cases. The DH will keep contacts with the relevant parents and follow up on the cases.

A system has also been put in place whereby relevant departments can refer cases with suspected clinical symptoms to the HA for follow-up action. Both hotlines will continue to operate till 6pm on August 9.

The HA has reminded frontline staff of public hospitals that if children who have consumed concerned batches of infant formula seek medical consultation and are presented with relevant symptoms, staff should follow the current regime to notify the CHP to conduct tests and refer to paediatrics for follow-up and provide appropriate treatment. No public hospital has received notifiable cases so far.

Ends/Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Issued at HKT 21:57

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Last revision date: 07-08-2013