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Global Health Alert – Botulism: Infant Formula, Sports Drinks at Risk

Posted by feww on August 3, 2013

Botulism bacteria found in Fonterra Infant formula

Fonterra, New Zealand dairy Goliath, has announced that some of its ingredients used in infant formula and sports drinks have tested positive for a type of bacteria that could cause the potentially fatal illness botulism.

Countries most at risk could include China, South Korea, UK, France, United States, Japan, Australia and Canada, according to informed sources.

Fonterra identified a potential quality problem in March when a product tested positive for the bacteria Clostridium.

The company today warned that the bacteria had been found in 38 tons of a type of whey protein concentrate processed at its plant at Hautapu in the Waikato in May 2012, but hasn’t yet provided any detail on the customers, countries or specific products that may be tainted.

Fonterra managing director NZ Milk Products Gary Romano told reporters it was up to Fonterra’s customers, “in conjunction with their regulatory authorities, to make statements about particular consumer products,” if appropriate.

Fonterra is the world’s fourth-largest dairy company, with annual revenues of more tan $16 billion.


The Internet Mafia has previously censored Public Health Emergency and global health warnings posted on this blog. The cabal have blocked or buried for commercial reasons potentially life-saving alerts concerning food items originating from New Zealand, especially Fonterra milk products.

What is botulism?

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and sometimes by strains of Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii. There are five main kinds of  botulism. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulinum toxin. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum. Infant botulism is caused by consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the intestines and release toxin. Adult intestinal toxemia (adult intestinal colonization) botulism is a very rare kind of botulism that occurs among adults by the same route as infant botulism. Lastly, iatrogenic botulism can occur from accidental overdose of botulinum toxin. All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies. Foodborne botulism is a public health emergency because many people can be poisoned by eating a contaminated food. [CDC]

Clostridium botulinum bacteria -s
Clostridium botulinum
is the name of a group of bacteria. They can be found in soil, water sediment and fish. These rod-shaped organisms are anaerobic (they grow best in low oxygen conditions). The gram positive bacteria form spores (endospore forming), which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. There are seven types of botulism toxin designated by the letters A through G; only types A, B, E and F cause illness in humans. [Source CDC and others]

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16 Responses to “Global Health Alert – Botulism: Infant Formula, Sports Drinks at Risk”

  1. JLT said

    Fonterra is unhappily in the international news, yet again –

    “New Zealand dairy exporter Fonterra may face legal action from France’s Danone over the recall of infant formula containing a potentially contaminated Fonterra ingredient, the company said on Monday.”

    “U.S. company Abbott Laboratories recalled its infant formula products containing the questionable ingredient in China and Vietnam and the company said it took a $90 million hit in lost sales in the third quarter and expected sales would suffer into the first half of 2014.

    Other companies affected by the recall include Coca-Cola China, Chinese beverage maker Wahaha, as well as animal feed and nutritional products manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand.”–sector.html

  2. feww said

    Second New Zealand dairy firm caught in export contamination scare
    WELLINGTON, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — Another New Zealand milk product has been found to be contaminated after being dispatched for export to China, but New Zealand officials said Monday that none of the products had reached consumers.

    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced that it had revoked export certificates for four consignments of lactoferrin, made by Westland Milk Products, after they were found to have excessive levels of nitrate.

    The consignments came from two affected batches of lactoferrin, a naturally occurring milk protein, made by a Westland factory in Hokitika, on the west coast of the South Island, said an MPI statement.

    One batch was exported directly to China by Westland as an ingredient for other dairy products and the second was supplied to the North Island-based Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company, and also exported to China.

    Both companies had told the MPI that a small amount of the lactoferrin was used in consumer products, but none of the products had reached consumers.

  3. Eddie said

    No flies on Russians…
    Russia, trade allies ban Fonterra products
    Peter Wilson, Political Writer, NZ Newswire – Updated August 13, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Russia and two of its biggest trade allies have confirmed they are banning all Fonterra products for now after the botulism scare.

    A spokeswoman for Trade Minister Tim Groser says Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have temporarily banned the import and sales of Fonterra products.

    Russia had indicated previously that it was planning some action after 38 tonnes of whey protein, produced last year, was contaminated with a bacteria that could lead to botulism.

    The spokeswoman says Kazakhstan and Belarus are part of a customs union with Russia and it was unsurprising it would take the same path as Russia.

    New Zealand’s total dairy trade to Russia in 2012 was more than $213 million, while it was about $620,000 to Kazakhstan that year. The spokeswoman said dairy trade to Belarus was “virtually nothing”.

    China recalled the affected product but continues to import all other Fonterra dairy goods.

    The government is holding a ministerial inquiry into the scare. The Ministry for Primary Industries is also investigating, while Fonterra is holding two inquiries.

  4. JLT said

    In addition to their botulism, Sri Lanka has detected the toxic agricultural chemical dicyandiamide (DCD) in the Fonterra milk powder –

  5. lizinwellington said

    Fonterra battling DCD scare in Sri Lanka

    NEW Zealand dairy giant Fonterra is now facing further food safety problems with Sri Lanka saying the agricultural chemical Dicyandiamide (DCD) has been found in two batches of milk powder.

    The company is still reeling from the botulism scare caused by a dirty pipe at a Waikato factory, but it has also been battling a product recall in Sri Lanka, where Fonterra is a major supplier.

    New Zealand officials say DCD, which is added to fertiliser to stop nitrogen run off, is not dangerous.

    However, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health says it considers DCD a “toxic chemical” and that it should be recalled.

    Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal has slapped a temporary ban on advertising by Fonterra.

    The issue arose in May this year, with the Colombo Gazette reporting DCD had been found in imported milk powder.

    Fonterra denies its products contain any trace of DCD, but Sri Lanka’s government has forced it to recall two batches of milk powder.

    Fonterra says the Sri Lankan tests were flawed and the DCD results were incorrect, media reported.

    “Our milk is 100 per cent pure,” Fonterra spokesman Roshan Kulasuriya told Agence France-Presse.

    “But we complied with the directive and have completed the recall of the two batches said to contain traces of DCD.”

    Earlier this year, the Ministry for Primary Industries proclaimed New Zealand dairy products were safe after testing for DCD began in June last year and small levels – used in two brands of fertiliser – were found in some dairy products.

    The fertilisers were used in spring and autumn on just 5 per cent of the country’s dairy farms, mostly in the cooler South Island, for about the past decade. The fertilisers are no longer being used.

    There are no international minimum standards for DCD levels.

  6. Jill said

    Chinese parents in ‘state of anxiety’ because of Fonterra milk scare
    Safety-scares with New Zealand infant formula have led Chinese consumers to ask “what’s wrong” with Fonterra, New Zealand’s Chinese embassy says.

    Fang Zhang, economic and commercial councillor for the Chinese embassy in New Zealand, told TV3`s The Nation the latest Karicare infant formula scare had forced consumers to once again reassess their trust in Fonterra.

    “They are asking why is always something wrong with Fonterra,” Mr Zhang said.

    The 2008 melamine scandal, which resulted in tainted dairy products killing at least six babies and sickening hundreds of thousand more in China, and the more recent January dicyandiamide incident, which resulted in traces of the nitrate inhibitor used on farmland being found in Fonterra milk, already had many Chinese consumers concerned, he said.

    A translated chinese saying: “Mistakes should not be repeated again and again, three times and you are out,” reflected the sentiment towards Fonterra amongst Chinese consumers, Mr Zhang said.

    When asked whether Chinese officials and consumers believed resignations were needed at Fonterra following the latest infant formula scare, Mr Zhang said Chinese consumers were more concerned with addressing safety issues at the company.

    “The most [important] priority at the moment is to pinpoint the root of the issue and fix it.”

    Many chinese parents were in a “state of anxiety and deep concern” due to fears their only child may have consumed a contaminated product, he said.

    “That’s the biggest concern at the moment.”

    The rest of this story is posted at

  7. Robert D. said

    Seriously folks, how many tons of whey protein concentrate must you water down to recover the lost revenue?

  8. pete said

    Isn’t the continuum fallacy basis for how food disasters come to life…
    “if you can add one gram of ‘sawdust’ to a 1,000 gram container … surely you should be able to add 2 grams without noticing any significant deterioration to the quality … with 3 grams you are not making a major change either, and so forth …”

  9. John C. said

    Have a fair idea how they’ll recover the lost revenue!!

  10. Meg 11 said

    FONTERRA Fined For Price-Fixing
    China has imposed record fines of about 108 million U.S. dollars on FONTERRA and 5 other baby formula companies following an anti-trust probe, Chinese media reported.

  11. jan said

    Fonterra fallout spreads to Sri Lanka –

    Fonterra and Sri Lanka

    * 98 per cent per cent of New Zealand’s exports to Sri Lanka are dairy products;

    * exports were worth $308 million for the year to March 2011; and

    * Sri Lanka is New Zealand’s fifth-largest market for milk powder.

  12. te2ataria said

    Another Fonterra Fu**up, Again!

  13. Des said

    Coca Cola and Danone issue recalls on Fonterra botulism scare

  14. Jo R. said

    Other countries affected besides those listed above and New Zealand are Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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