Bahrain 'has no tainted baby food'
Manama, September 29, 2010
Bahrain has no plans to ban the sale of baby food formula Similac following reports that it could contain beetles and their larvae, a top government official said.
The product, which comes in plastic and metallic cans, was withdrawn from the shelves in Saudi Arabia on Monday.
It came after Abbott Laboratories announced a voluntary recall of around five million units of the top-selling product in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam and Caribbean countries.
The Health Ministry said it was keeping a close watch on the situation, but consumers had nothing to fear.
"In Bahrain, all our imports are from Ireland and as far as we know all stock that has been affected is from the US," said an official. "We do not get this product from the US at all."
The official warned people not to purchase the formula from outside Bahrain as its place of origin could not be guaranteed.
"There is no plan yet to also withdraw existing stock from shelves across Bahrain and sales continue as usual," the official added.
A leading pharmacy which imports Abbot products into Bahrain said staff had meticulously checked every consignment for its place of origin.
"We found none of the batch numbers from the allegedly tainted products were ever imported here," said an official.
He said Similac infant formulas sold in many other parts of the region were also made in Ireland and would not be affected by the recall.
The company earlier initiated a voluntary, proactive recall of certain products as a precautionary measure in some countries "due to a situation that was isolated to one production area in a single manufacturing facility in the US".
However, Saudi Arabia said it would ban and withdraw plastic and metallic cans of the infant formula. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority said it planned "protective measures to ensure that this product does not enter the kingdom, investigate its presence and withdraw it from local markets".
Abbot said on its website it was recalling some products following an internal quality review. – TradeArabia News Service