Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Press Release (2001/0138), 14 August 2001

RECALL - SMA Infant Formula Product Recall

SMA Nutrition is tomorrow issuing a product recall in relation to batches of SMA Gold and White infant formula that have been linked to a recent case of infant botulism. Although it is not possible to prove conclusively that this product was the cause of the child's illness, the FSA welcomes this decision as a precautionary approach.

Dr Jon Bell, Food Standards Agency Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Food Safety said:
" SMA Nutrition is acting in a responsible way and we welcome this precautionary recall. It is important that no one continues to use these particular batches of SMA Gold and White. They should be thrown away or returned to the retailer. There is no reason to believe that this is anything but an isolated one-off incident. Infant botulism is extremely rare. There have only been six cases ever reported in the UK. These batches of infant formula have been on sale for over two years and are nearing the end of their shelf life. Only this one case of infant botulism has occurred during this time, and there have been no other reported cases since 1994, suggesting that there is not a widespread problem. However, the Food Standards Agency intends to meet and work with the baby food industry to look at any lessons that may be learnt from this case. In particular we will want assurances that the checks that the industry has in place to ensure that the bacteria that causes botulism does not get into baby products are adequate and, if not, that appropriate action is taken."

The affected products are:

No other products are affected by the recall.

This action is being taken as a result of tests made on food products used in the home of the family involved in a recent case of infant botulism and follow-up tests on further samples of the same products. The SMA Nutrition product SMA Gold tested positive for C. botulinum type B, the same strain as the infant contracted. The most common and earliest symptom of infant botulism is constipation. Other symptoms include generalised weakness, a weak cry and various neurological disorders. Although it can be a mild condition, infant botulism can also be serious, involving lengthy hospitalisation.

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