Tainted dairy products did not enter Taiwan, FDA says

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Aug 04, 2013 - Page 3

There is no indication that tainted dairy products from New Zealand have been imported into Taiwan, and the New Zealand government has confirmed Taiwan is not on the list of countries that the products have entered, health authorities said yesterday.

Three batches of whey protein powder produced by Fonterra of New Zealand, one of the world’s largest dairy companies, were reportedly found to contain a strain of bacteria that causes botulism, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.

Whey protein powder is used to make infant formula, the FDA said, adding that its checks of infant formula sold in Taiwan had found no sign of contamination.

The relevant authorities in New Zealand have also confirmed that Taiwan is not among the countries to which the affected products were exported, the FDA said.

New Zealand has recalled up to 1,000 tonnes of dairy products domestically and in six other countries after Fonterra announced the discovery of the bacteria in some raw materials used to make infant formula, sports drinks, protein drinks and other beverages, foreign wire agencies reported yesterday.

Botulism is the most dangerous form of food poisoning and can cause paralysis and death.

The countries to which the contaminated whey products were exported are China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, the news reports said.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings was planning to fly yesterday to China — one of the main buyers of New Zealand infant formula, according to the reports.

Fonterra said the incident was caused by unsterilized pipes at a Waikato factory. It also said three batches of whey protein weighing around 42 tonnes were contaminated in May last year, and that eight of its customers have been informed of the problem, according to the reports.