Hong Kong warns against French baby formula

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The warning came after a batch of Babynat Organic Infant Milk shipped to Korea has been found to consist harmful bacteria.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong food safety officials on Tuesday warned consumers against buying a brand of French baby formula, following the discovery of harmful bacteria in a batch in South Korea.

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) said in a statement people should not consume Babynat Organic Infant Milk, made by Vitagermine, after it tested positive for enterobacter sakazaki.

Enterobacter sakazaki bacteria can cause meningitis and enteritis.

The statement said the centre has told retailers to stop selling the product, which it believes has been sold in the southern Chinese city, and was continuing its own investigation.

It was informed of the outbreak by European Union officials, it said.

South Korea first to discover bacteria 
South Korean officials said Tuesday it detected a strain called enterobacter sakazaki in a shipment of 135 kilograms of canned organic formula produced by France's Vitagermine and imported in January.

Since December 2007, eight shipments of the product weighing a total of 1,492 kilograms have been imported and six of these, totalling 1,222 kilograms, reached the market.

After January's shipment failed tests, inspectors are examining the latest 135-kilograms delivery that arrived on 6 February.

The quarantine service said it was also checking formula which had already reached the market.

"Most of the 1,222 kg has already been consumed by people who ordered the product online," Na Byeong-Seung, an official of the service, told AFP.

He said the quarantine service had secured four cans for testing, including two sent in by a shopper alarmed by reports of the bacteria.

Results are expected sometime next week and the service may order a recall if contamination is found.

[AFP / Expatica]

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