Botulism Scare Prompts Baby Formula Recall

Botulism Baby Formula

A botulism scare has prompted a baby formula recall. Fonterra, of New Zealand, has announced that their whey protein concentrate tested positive for bacteria which may be harmful. The bacteria can cause botulism. Whey protein is an important ingredient in infant formula and protein drinks.

The whey protein is shipped to seven countries for use in numerous products. The scare has prompted China and Russia to recall products containing the ingredients. As reported by Yahoo News, both countries have also halted import of whey protein from Fonterra.

Fonterra is one of the largest, and most respected providers of dairy products in the world. Around 60 officials have been appointed by the New Zealand government to handle the botulism scare.

Theo Spierings, chief executive officer of Fonterra, offered his apology for the situation, stating that he “regret[s] the distress and anxiety which this issue could have caused.”

According to officials, the whey protein was shipped to Coca-Cola and Vitaco in Australia. It was also sent to Wahaha in China. Officials contend that any contamination would be eliminated through heat treatment, in the manufacturing process.

As reported by WebMD, whey protein is a made from the liquid the separates from solid material when processing cheese. Whey protein is used in products for people who are lactose intolerant. It is also used as a protein supplement.

As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, there are several different types of botulism. The botulism scare is centered around food borne botulism. Food borne botulism is most commonly found in home processed foods.

Symptoms include visual problems and muscle weakness. If untreated, it can lead to eventual paralysis or death. Symptoms from food borne botulism usually appear within three days.

Fonterra officials are certain that the potentially contaminated ingredients have been contained. They explain that high levels of heat would kill any harmful bacteria. However, the botulism scare has caused serious concern for countries that use Fonterra’s whey protein.

[Image via Flickr]