CFS follows up on the incident of suspected contamination of French infant and young children formulae with salmonella

12 December 2017
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The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has been following up closely on the incident that French infant and young children formula products are suspected to be contaminated with salmonella. Upon receiving a notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed of the European Commission today (December 12) that three kinds of the affected products have been imported into Hong Kong, the CFS immediately followed up and confirmed that the following affected products have been imported into Hong Kong by the importer concerned. The CFS urged members of the public not to let infants and young children consume the affected batches of the products. The trade should also stop selling the products concerned immediately if they possess them.

Product details are as follows:

(1) Product name: Inovital Infant milk from 0 to 6 months (No. 1)
Brand: Mon petit
Manufacturer: Lactalis International
Place of origin: France
Importer: Jumbo Smart Development Limited
Net weight: 900 grams
Best before dates: March 13, 2019 and June 22, 2019

(2) Product name: Inovital Follow-on milk from 6 to 12 months (No. 2)
Brand: Mon petit
Manufacturer: Lactalis International
Place of origin: France
Manufacturer: Jumbo Smart Development Limited
Net weight: 900 grams
Best before dates: March 16, 2019 and June 27, 2019

(3) Product name: Inovital Growing-up milk from 1 to 3 years (No.3)
Brand: Mon petit
Manufacturer: Lactalis International
Place of origin: France
Importer: Jumbo Smart Development Limited
Net weight: 900 grams
Best before date: March 15, 2019

A spokesman for the CFS said, "Following an announcement by the French authorities about the recall of 12 batches of infant formulae by Lactalis in early December, the CFS immediately contacted the sole agent of Lactalis in Hong Kong, major local importers and retailers to follow up. Preliminary investigations showed that the products concerned had not been imported or sold in Hong Kong. The CFS issued a food incident post to inform local trade of the incident on December 4. Following the French authorities' announcement on December 10 that the recall of products by Lactalis has been extended to cover all products produced by one processing plant (Lactalis Craon Factory) since February 15, 2017, the Centre has been proactively following up on the incident."

CFS' investigation showed that the importer concerned had imported about 28 000 cartons of the affected products and some of them had been distributed for sale. The remaining stock in the importer's warehouse has been immediately marked and sealed by the CFS. In addition, 15 000 cartons are being shipped to Hong Kong which will also be marked and sealed by the CFS on their arrival. The CFS has instructed the importer concerned to stop sale and remove from shelves the affected batches of the products, and recall the products concerned. Members of the public may call the hotline of the importer at 2272 1128 during office hours for enquiries about the recall.

The spokesman said, "Powdered infant formula is not a sterile product which may be contaminated with pathogens such as salmonella and Enterobacter sakazakii (Cronobacter spp.). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization advise that powdered infant formula should be prepared with boiled water that is no cooler than 70 degree Celsius which can significantly inactivate pathogens including Salmonella. Reconstituted powdered infant formula should then be cooled to feeding temperature and consumed immediately. Reconstituted powdered infant formula that has not been consumed within two hours should be discarded. On the other hand, for high-risk infants, including pre-term infants, infants less than two months of age, low-birth-weight infants (< 2.5 kilograms) and immunocompromised infants etc, who are not breastfed, caregivers should use commercially sterile liquid formula whenever possible."

The spokesman advised consumers to seek medical treatment for infants or young children who felt unwell after taking the above products.

The CFS collected infant formula samples at import, wholesale and retail levels on a risk-based approach for microbiological testing under its food surveillance programme to ensure that they are in compliance with local legal requirements and fit for human consumption. Between 2014 and November 2017, the CFS took about 300 infant formula samples for testing with all results satisfactory. The CFS has enhanced surveillance of dairy products available in local market since the incident.

The CFS will continue to closely monitor the latest development of the incident and take appropriate follow-up action. Investigation is ongoing. 

Reprinted from HKSAR Government:
http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201712/12/P2017121200909.htm