Baby formula tests negative for 1080

A tin of baby formula that has been given to police after a Christchurch couple raised concerns.
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A tin of baby formula that has been given to police after a Christchurch couple raised concerns.

Samples of infant formula suspected of possible tampering have all tested negative for 1080, police say. 

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said the infant formula in those tins was safe for infants to consume, he said.

The test results appeared to confirm the issues with the tins arose from normal manufacturing or handling issues, Burgess said.

The police conclusion comes after the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) also suggested that the containers probably damaged during manufacturing

Last night police confirmed they had received calls from the public concerned about infant formula product tampering, including pin pricks in the containers' lids.

Police and MPI revealed this month that threats had been made to Fonterra and Federated Farmers in November that infant formula could be contaminated with the deadly 1080 poison unless the Government stopped using it for pest control.

As a result supermarkets placed added restrictions on sales, and some parents have raised concerns about their products.

Jamie Fitchett, 21, from Waltham, Christchurch, said his girlfriend, who would not be named, bought baby formula from a central-city supermarket a few days ago.  

When she went to feed it to her 10-month-old baby girl, Cassidy, on Tuesday she noticed a series of holes in the top and bottom of the tin, which led her to believe it had been tampered with.  

She contacted police who responded quickly and took it away for testing. On Wednesday, she gave a statement to police, who told her the holes could be a manufacturing fault.

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Fitchett said that after learning of the 1080 threat through the media he told his girlfriend to be vigilant when opening tins of baby formula.

"We weren't even that worried about it [the 1080 threat]," he said.

"We just thought it's only threats and it won't really affect us, and then [my girlfriend] found this and we've just sort of panicked.

"We don't know whether we want to keep using it [baby formula] to be honest. It has just freaked us out." 

Fitchett posted details of the couple's discovery on social media, which had "spread like wildfire".

"A lot of people out there are more aware which I feel good about," he said.

However Scott Gallacher, deputy director general at MPI, said that the early indications were that any damage was caused in manufacturing.

"The police are investigating, they've now done the tests to ascertain whether we are dealing with a true contamination," he said.

"At this stage everything is telling us and the police that we are probably more down the track that this has been something to do with the manufacturing process."

He said it was inevitable that with the increased level of vigilance by parents around baby formula that concerns would be raised with MPI.

 - Stuff

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