News alert: New Zealand milk powder products (including infant formula) contaminated with botulism bacteria

New Zealand’s Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, issued a warning yesterday that some of its products used in infant formula and sports drinks may contain a bacteria that causes botulism, which can lead to severe food poisoning, paralysis and even death.

According to Fonterra, it sold New Zealand-made whey protein concentrate contaminated with the Clostridium botulinum to eight customers, for possible use in infant formula, body building powder and other products (Interestingly, Botox injections are made from the same toxin released by the same bacteria). The contaminated milk powders were exported to various countries including Australia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. 

New Zealand authorities said they have held back some widely used infant formula products from supermarkets, notably the Karicare infant formula, while China has halted all imports of milk powder from New Zealand. It has been 5 years since melamine-tainted infant formula killed at least six there and made thousands sick in China, who imports the majority of its milk powder from New Zealand. 

UPDATE (August 5, 2013): Hong Kong media reported today that Cow & Gate milk formula has been affected. 

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