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100,000 cans of possibly tainted baby formula sold in Taiwan: FDA

2017/12/12 16:06:05

Photo courtesy of Food and Drug Administration

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) More than 100,000 cans of a French company's allegedly tainted baby milk formula have been sold in Taiwan by three Taiwanese importers, but most of them may have already been consumed, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

The FDA said it asked the three importers -- Orient EuroPharma Co., Standard Foods Corp. and Multipower Enterprise Corp. -- to pull their products from store shelves by the end of Monday even though the three have insisted their products are safe.

Worries over potential problems with the baby formula made by leading French dairy product brand Lactalis and sold in Taiwan emerged after the French company issued an international recall of its products on Sunday over fears of salmonella contamination.

Late Monday, Orient EuroPharma and Multipower Enterprise said they had distributed a total of 54,000 cans of the baby formula in question, while Standard Foods said on Tuesday it had shipped 48,000 cans of the product, pushing the total above 100,000, the FDA said.

The three importers said Monday that their products have passed inspections and are safe, and they urged consumers not to worry, but they also pledged to give unconditional refunds for returns of any of the potentially problematic products.

According to the FDA, the products with potential problems include Orient EuroPharma's hydrolyzed protein formula under the name of Babycare HA, which is coded 17C0012657.

The four potentially problematic items from Multipower Enterprise were named "neoAngelac Plus" and coded 17C0012913, 17C0013255, 17C0012517, 17C0012911 and 17C0012928.

Standard Foods had three potentially tainted items sold under the names Quaker ProBaby and Quaker ProCare, coded 17C0013564, 17C0012846, 17C0013563 and 17C0012653, the FDA said.

The codes should help customers determine whether they have bought potentially problematic products distributed by the three companies, the FDA said.

Orient EuroPharma does not have any inventory of potentially tainted products, while Standard Foods and Multipower Enterprise still do, but they will not be allowed to distribute their inventory to stores, said FDA specialist Chen Wei-chih (鄭維智).

Cheng said that if the three importers are found to have not pulled their potentially tainted products from the market, they will face a fine ranging between NT$30,000 (US$1,000) and NT$3 million.

The order to recall Lactalis' baby milk was issued by French health authorities after reports of 26 instances in which children fell ill in France after using the product.

According to an AFP report, up to 7,000 tons of Lactalis baby formula products may have been contaminated, but the company has not been able to confirm how much remains on sale, has been consumed or is in stock.

Consuming products contaminated with salmonella can cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and even vomiting. Salmonella symptoms are particularly dangerous for babies and seniors due to the risk of dehydration, according to the AFP report.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Frances Huang)