We can see why breast is best when warnings are being sounded about suspect whey

Dunno if anyone has drawn the connection between a quality fuss at Fonterra and campaigns to promote babes being nurtured by nuzzling their mums.

But it’s Breastfeeding Week, a time when the do-gooders are out beating their breasts – ahem – about mother’s milk being best for their sprogs.

And so help us, Fonterra has announced today that some of its products used in infant formula and sports drinks may contain a bacteria that causes botulism.

The One News account of the announcement can be found here:

Fonterra said that on Wednesday tests indicated the potential presence of a strain of Clostridium (Clostridium Botulinum) in a whey concentrate sample, which can cause botulism.

The batches of whey product have been on-sold and mixed with other ingredients to form 870 tonnes of consumer products sold in a variety of markets.

Oh dear.

That’s not good for the clean, green and pure image we like to project.

Fonterra was very coy about naming any of the products in which this Clostridium Botulinum might have finished up but…

The Ministry for Primary Industries says in regard to the New Zealand market, five batches of Nutricia Karicare follow-on formula products for children from six months old.potentially contained contaminated whey protein from Fonterra’s Hautapu manufacturing facility.

“Nutricia has advised that three of those batches are in a warehouse in Auckland, one is on a ship, and the other is in storage in Australia,” acting MPI director general Scott Gallacher said, adding “Nutricia has advised it has locked down those batches, and they will not be sold on the market.”

“MPI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are continuing to work with overseas regulators to provide information as it becomes available.”

Obviously the PR experts were whistled in to advise on this situation, and so we learn that Fonterra has advised eight of its customers of a “quality issue” involving three batches of a particular type of whey protein concentrate (WPC80) produced at a single New Zealand manufacturing site in May 2012.

That’s a nice way of putting it.

It’s a “quality issue”.

Yep. The hint of botulism does bring quality control into considerations.

The TV One News report went on to say that customers are urgently investigating whether any of the affected product is in their supply chains and if necessary they will initiate consumer product recalls.

So far, so good, because…

There have been no reports of any illness linked to consumption of the affected whey protein, Fonterra said in a statement. Dairy products such as fresh milk, yoghurt, cheese, spreads and UHT milk products are not affected, it said.

The particular whey protein concentrate concerned is used by Fonterra’s customers in a range of products including infant formula, “growing-up” milk powder and sports drinks, according to Gary Romano, Managing Director NZ Milk Products.

Accordingly the company immediately contacted its customers and the appropriate authorities, so that any potentially affected product could be removed from the marketplace.

Romano also explained what went wrong in the processing department.

He told a news conference today that

…investigations had isolated the cause of the contamination as a piece of pipe which was not sterilised properly and was used during production of three batches of whey protein concentrate.

The piece of equipment was subsequently cleaned and further product tested was clear.

Jo Goodhew – splendid lass – is our Associate Minister for Primary Industries.

She also happens to be our Associate Minister of Health.

Wearing her health hat, she marked World Breastfeeding Week yesterday by visiting a Big Latch On event at the Timaru Women’s Community Centre.

“Breastfeeding provides babies with the optimum nutrition for the beginning of their lives, protects against infectious diseases and assists with physical and emotional development,” Mrs Goodhew told attendees at the event.

“The Ministry of Health recommends that all babies are exclusively breastfed until around six months of age, when they take supplementary food, and that breastfeeding should continue until the infant is at least one year old.”

World Breastfeeding Week runs from 1-7 August.

Alf draws attention at this juncture to his previous post, which suggests the modern mum should keep her sprogs latched on to her magnificent mammaries in the interests of making them smarter.

The longer the wee buggers are breast-fed, the brighter they are likely to be.

Another thing going for the breast-feeding lark is that mums don’t have to sterilise their piping in quite the same way as someone should have done at the plant that produced the whey that has become the focus of a quality fuss.


One Response to We can see why breast is best when warnings are being sounded about suspect whey

  1. robertguyton says:

    A great example of where smaller is better, and I’m not just referring to breasts here – and infection in the giant Fonterra ‘milk producing gland’ could have disastrous results, whereas breast by breast, mothers can protect their babies from such a threat. When industry pushes efficiency and profit-making to the max the way they do, human health comes under threat. It’s the same, in my view, with agriculture in general. Broad spectrum approaches to weed-control, for example could result in widespread pollution of the environment of a particularly ‘wicked’ kind, given the longevity and potentially subtle but dangerous nature of modern herbicides.

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