Fonterra said eight of its customers, who imported the tainted whey protein concentrate, which was produced at a single New Zealand manufacturing site in May 2012, are urgently investigating the potential presence of Clostridium Botulinum, a bacterium which can cause botulism, in their supply chains. The revelation, dealing a blow to New Zealands dairy industry, has led to global recalls of several hundred tons of dairy products in six countries -- China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia -- apart from New Zealand, the BBC reported . A Vietnamese seller bags dairy boxes at a showroom of the Vietnam Dairy Products Co (Vinamilk) in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters The dairy major did not name the eight companies that were affected. 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. Botulism poisoning, usually caused by consuming food contaminated with the toxin, affects nerves, resulting in double vision, blurred vision, slurred speech and muscle weakness. Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the company is "acting quickly" to acquire information out about potentially affected product so that it can be taken off supermarket shelves and, where it has already been purchased, can be returned. We are working closely with New Zealands regulatory authority the Ministry for Primary Industries to keep New Zealand and offshore regulators informed, he said. Fonterra said it identified a potential quality issue in March 2013, when a product tested positive for a harmless strain of Clostridium. Several tests followed the initial discovery, and on July 31, 2013 tests indicated potential presence of a poisonous strain of Clostridium. We immediately contacted our customers and the appropriate authorities, so that any potentially affected product could be removed from the marketplace, Gary Romano, managing director Fonterras New Zealand Milk Products, said in the statement. We are working with our customers and will provide more information and updates as they become available, Romano said. Chinas General Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine has asked local dairy importers to recall products manufactured using Fonterras tainted whey protein and to step up inspections of dairy products from New Zealand, Bloomberg reported . In 2008, six infants died and 300,000 fell sick in China after consuming tainted baby formula, prompting authorities to improve measures to ensure food safety.
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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the bottles were found to contain 77% alcohol by volume rather than the typical 40%. Bombay Sapphire is produced by the private firm Bacardi, which is well know for its rum products and Grey Goose Vodka. The company said that up to 6,000 Bombay Sapphire bottles may be affected. The 1.1 liter bottles were sold only in Canada. "The over proof product inadvertently entered the bottling line during a short period of time -- [up to] 45 minutes -- when [workers] were switching from one bottling tank to another bottling tank," the firm said. Bacardi said the recall was launched after "an isolated consumer complaint and subsequent quality assurance checks." The Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned consumers to throw out the bottles or return them. It said that there were no reports of anyone becoming sick from drinking the gin. Other products may be recalled following a food safety investigation, the agency added. Some bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin are being recalled in Canada. Bacardi is the world's fourth largest spirits producer, churning out about 300 million liters of drinks per year, according to Jeremy Cunnington, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor International. Bombay Sapphire, which has been experiencing double-digit sales growth over the past few years, comprises 8% of Bacardi's global sales, according to Euromonitor.
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