Russia bans imports of Fonterra products

Agence France-Presse
Russia issues an import ban on the products of New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra after an alert for possible botulism-causing bacteria in its products

Customers visit a Fonterra stall during a Baby Fair in Hong Kong on August 5, 2013. Photo by AFP / Dale de la Rey

MOSCOW, Russia – Russia has issued an import ban on the products of New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra after the company revealed that its baby formula contained botulism-causing bacteria, Russian news agencies reported Monday, August 5.

The Russian consumer protection agency said in a statement that “to prevent dangerous products from reaching the consumer, the state consumer watchdog is taking measures to seize potentially contaminated Fonterra products and to stop their import into Russia.”

It also warned Russians not to use the company’s baby formula or other dairy products.

The consumer watchdog’s head Gennady Onishchenko told Interfax news agency that Russia was still awaiting information from the company, which on Monday apologized for the scare.

“The available data does not give full answers to questions over the volume of the contaminated product, why (the contamination) happened, and where the products that they consider to be contaminated are now: whether they have been seized or destroyed,” he said.

“If the product has not been seized, we can’t rule out that it will reach (Russia) via re-exportation schemes,” he said.

The symptoms of botulism include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by paralysis, and it can be fatal if not treated.

Fonterra has said there have been no reports of illness related to the consumption of the contaminated products. –

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