Operation Concord Media update, Thursday 19 March 2015

Date:
Media contact: MPI media phone
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) would like to thank New Zealanders for their continued vigilance in checking infant and other formula products they purchase for signs of suspected tampering.

Police confirmed last night that the Operation Concord team has received some calls from members of the public concerned with possible infant formula product tampering, such as possible pinpricks in packaging lids.

MPI Deputy Director-General, Scott Gallacher, says the tins in question are now with Police and are being assessed as part of the ongoing Police investigation.

“The Police process is to assess cans that have been handed in. They undertake forensic testing if warranted and they are doing this with a small number of cans handed in over the last few days.

“It’s important to realise though that suspected tampering does not necessarily mean product has been tampered with. From time to time packaging can be damaged in manufacturing – however no conclusions can be drawn about the cans handed in in the last few days until Police have completed their testing”, he says.

“We applaud those who have contacted the Police with their concerns – they have absolutely done the right thing.

“We continue to be confident that New Zealand infant and other formula is just as safe today as it was before this threat was made. People should keep using it as they always have, and to continue to be vigilant when buying infant and other formula by checking all product for tampering. Information on how to check for tampering is available on MPI’s leaflet at www.foodprotection.govt.nz and available in local supermarkets.

“As a matter of routine, supermarkets have processes in place to take special care of certain types of product. As a result of this threat, they have put in place additional security measures around infant and other formula, such as securing the product throughout the transport and delivery chain, increased CCTV security in distribution centres, increased physical security, CCTV and visibility in-store.

“We have been working with the supermarkets and are confident they are doing everything they can to keep infant and other formula safe.

“Our advice is for consumers to keep using their infant formula as normal, and to continue to be vigilant when buying infant and other formula by checking all product for tampering. Information on how to check for tampering is available on MPI’s leaflet at http://www.foodprotection.govt.nz and available in local supermarkets.

“We would like to reassure New Zealand parents and caregivers that everything is being done to ensure infant formula bought from stores is safe and secure.

“International consumers can also be assured these measures apply to infant formula exported from New Zealand.”

 

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