Four kinds of Swiss Holle's baby porridges recalled due to suspected contamination with atropine

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 13) urged the public not to feed infants and toddlers with four kinds of pre-packed organic baby millet and three-grain porridge of a Swiss brand, Holle, as they were suspected to be contaminated with a kind of tropane alkaloids, atropine. The trade should also stop selling the products concerned immediately, regardless of batches.

Details of the affected products are as follows:

Product names:
1. Holle Organic Millet Porridge Apple - Pear
2. Holle Organic Millet Porridge with Rice
3. Holle Organic Milk Cereal with Millet
4. Holle Organic 3-Grain Porridge

Place of origin: Switzerland
Weight: 250 grammes

A spokesman for the CFS said, "The Centre received notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed of the European Commission that Holle Baby Food GmbH has initiated a recall of certain batches of five kinds of baby porridge (including the above four) as the products were detected with atropine at levels between 3.73 parts per billion (ppb) and 31.9 ppb, exceeding the maximum permitted level of 0.025 ppb set by the European Union. According to the notification, some of the affected products were exported to Hong Kong."

The CFS has immediately contacted the major importer of the products concerned in Hong Kong and learnt that the affected products had been imported to Hong Kong and were all sold to retailers. For prudence sake, the importer agreed that the sale of all batches of the four kinds of Holle's baby millet and three-grain porridge mentioned above should be stopped. The importer would initiate a recall of the products concerned from the retailers.

With regard to the fifth product mentioned in the notification, Millet and Rice Whole Wheat Porridge, the CFS staff have conducted checks on major local retail outlets and did not find the product available for sale.

The spokesman said, "Consumption of the aforesaid products contaminated with atropine may cause short-term adverse effects, for example, dilated pupils, change of heart rate, dryness of the mouth, constipation, urinary retention, and flushed skin. The chemicals present will be excreted from the body and therefore there are no long term health effects."

The CFS will alert the trade of the incident. The spokesman urged the trade to stop selling the products concerned immediately, regardless of batches, and return the products to the supplier/importer. Consumers should not feed infants and toddlers with the above baby porridges that are still in their possession and should return them to respective retailers. Medical advice should be sought if they feel sick after consuming the product concerned. For enquiries about the recall of the affected products, consumers and traders may call the importer at 31882463 during office hours.

The CFS will continue to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up actions. Investigation is still ongoing.

Ends/Saturday, December 13, 2014