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Latest situation of follow-up on infant formulae 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, the Department of Health (DH) and the Hospital Authority (HA) are continuing their follow-up on infant formula products suspected to be affected by Clostridium botulinum.

Regarding the incident in which infant formulae were suspected to be affected by Clostridium botulinum, the New Zealand authority has all along been keeping close contact with the CFS, responding swiftly with follow-up actions, and has provided useful information to the CFS, a Government spokesman said today (August 9).

The CFS received updated information provided by the New Zealand authority today that some of the Karicare Stage 1 New Baby Infant Formula and Karicare Gold+ Stage 2 Follow On Formula produced by Nutricia New Zealand Limited being recalled in New Zealand as a precaution may probably have been imported into Hong Kong. Accordingly, immediate follow-up investigation was conducted by the CFS. Information provided by the importers concerned indicated that the affected products had not been put on sale in the local market. The CFS will continue to follow up with the importers and deploy staff to conduct checks at the retail outlets.

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

Furthermore, 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 had received 1 131 enquiries, whilst the DH's hotline 2125 1111 had received 384 enquiries. Among the enquiries received by the DH's hotline so far, none were related to suspected Botulism cases.

From 3pm yesterday (August 8) up to 3pm today, no cases of children being symptomatic were reported. Six persons reported earlier via the hotline that their children were presented with mild symptoms. Officers of the hotline have contacted the parents and carers concerned who reported that medical consultation had been sought and were told that the symptoms were not related to Botulism. The conditions of the children are stable.

The spokesman said, the number of calls that the two hotlines received in the past two days had dropped sharply. Nevertheless, the CFS hotline will continue to operate between 9am and 6pm up to next Monday (August 12). The DH hotline will operate between 9am and 6pm tomorrow (August 10).

"The CFS will continue to closely liaise and co-operate with the New Zealand authority and the State General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, as well as major local food suppliers, to keep an eye on the developments of the matters. Appropriate follow-up measures will be taken, including whenever necessary making announcements on the latest situation," he said.

Ends/Friday, August 9, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:59

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Last revision date: 09-08-2013