Dairy products in S'pore safe for consumption

SINGAPORE - We reassure the public that as part of the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority's (AVA) routine surveillance and inspection programme, all imported food products, including dairy products like milk powder, are subjected to regular inspections and sampling to test for a wide range of food safety hazards ("3rd-party import of milk powder safe?" by Dr Ong Siew Chey; last Thursday).

Fonterra's recall was isolated to a few batches of dairy ingredient known as whey protein concentrate, which may have been potentially contaminated by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

Whey protein concentrate is used as an ingredient in the manufacture of certain dairy products, such as infant formula.

Singapore was not affected by the Aug 3 recall as the affected Fonterra dairy products have not been imported here.

The affected batches of whey protein concentrate were also not used in the manufacture of Fonterra's other brands of milk powder such as Anlene, Anmum and Fernleaf.

The AVA has been working closely with the New Zealand authorities and the industry to trace other potentially affected dairy products. While the affected batches of whey protein concentrate were not exported to Singapore, they were exported to a few other countries, including Malaysia. No other products currently available in the Singapore market have used the affected batches of whey protein concentrate, with the exception of Danone Dumex.

As a precautionary measure, Danone Dumex has since initiated a voluntary recall of five batches of products, which were manufactured in Malaysia and subsequently imported into Singapore.

The AVA has stepped up surveillance and testing of dairy products available in our market since the Fonterra incident, and will continue to monitor the situation closely to safeguard food safety and public health.

Yap Him Hoo (Dr)
Group Director, Quarantine and Inspection Group For Chief Executive Officer Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority

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