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Belgian baby formula-linked Salmonella outbreak sickens 16 in Russia

By Mark Astley , 24-Jan-2012
Last updated on 24-Jan-2012 at 16:13 GMT2012-01-24T16:13:09Z

Belgian baby formula-linked Salmonella outbreak sickens 16 in Russia

Tainted powdered milk formula from Belgium has been recalled in Russia after more than a dozen babies were struck down with Salmonellosis.

The Russian food safety authority, Rospotrebnadzor, has initiated a recall and officials in Belgium have completed an investigation at a Belgian processing plant after being notified of the outbreak.

One 19 tonne batch has been identified as the potential source of the outbreak – 3 tonnes of which was sent to several developing countries.

A statement published on the Rospotrebnadzor website directly identified Belgium-based milk formula specialist FASSKA as the manufacturer under question.

FoodQualityNews.com approached FASSKA for comment, but they declined to comment.

A total of 16 people have been struck down with Salmonellosis including 13 children aged between two weeks and seven months, according to Rospotrebnadzor.

One child aged four and two adults in their twenties have also been infected.

Belgian investigation

In an official statement from Rospotrebnadzor, printed on its website, the agency identified Belgium-based FASSKA as the manufacturer of the product being linked to the outbreak.

The statement, which has been translated from Russia said: At the present time to ascertain objective information about the incident and minimise the negative effects, we have been instructed by the Russian Federation to take appropriate steps to identify this product in our country.”

The Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) began an investigation after being informed about the likely contamination of milk powder with Salmonella Oranienburg in the north of Russia.

The FASFC immediately began an investigation which centred on a Belgian producer – identified as FASSKA.

According to the spokesman of a local agency for food safety, the milk powder that caused the contamination originated from Belgium,” said a FASFC statement sent to FoodQualityNews.com.

“As a result of that inquiry it appears that only one batch of 19 tonnes was concerned.”

“From this batch 16 tonnes were sent to Russia in January, 2011. The remaining three tonnes were mixed with other batches and sent to certain third-world countries.”

RASFF alert

According to a RASFF alert associated with the outbreak, the product was also distributed to Haiti, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo).

“The concerned countries have already been informed by Belgium via the RASFF-system. No product at all from this batch has been delivered in Europe, and thus not in Belgium.”

“As a result of the controls performed by the FASFC in the producing plant, all measures were taken in order to avoid another incident.”

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