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Indonesian mothers cautious amid botulism threat
Publication Date : 16-08-2013
Grace Adelina, 28, had all the reasons to be worried when she heard about the global tainted milk scandal hitting New Zealand’s dairy giant, Fonterra.
She is a working mother and claimed that the quantity of her breastmilk was not sufficient for her baby. She had no other choice but to feed her 4.5 month-old baby with infant formula from birth.
“I heard the news in the printed media about the Fonterra milk scandal. It scares me as I used to give imported infant formula products to my four-month baby, Jesse,” she told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “I have no choice. But I am really careful with the food that I buy for my baby,” she said.
She added that she often shared information on recommended infant formula products with her friends, who also had babies and were working like her.
Hidayati, a 30-year-old mother who works as a civil servant, said that the Fonterra scandal was not the first one she had heard about after becoming a mother.
“When my first child was still a baby in 2008, I heard about the first Fonterra milk scandal. The recent one is just another slap for the company,” she said.
She added that at that time she did not feed her baby boy, Danish, with the contaminated infant, formula products from Fonterra but her sister did. “I told her to stop buying the infant formula and change directly into another brand,” she said. “Mothers are very alert with information on infant formula because it’s related to their baby health.”
Luh Aditi Sandra Kirana, a working mother with a three-year-old son, said that hearing the Fonterra case made her more cautious to buy infant formulas. However, the activity of choosing the right infant formula for her baby often got her puzzled. “The sales I usually meet in markets have so much information on infant formula ingredients and looked sophisticated but still I do not know which the best are,” she said, adding that she finally picked up a product after a recommendation from her mother.
Fonterra has announced that three batches of whey protein concentrate were contaminated with poisonous bacteria known as Clostridioum Botulinum. The bacteria is often found in soil and can cause botulism, a potentially fatal disease that affects the muscles, ignites respiratory problems and attacks infant’s intestinal systems.
Fonterra has said that the contaminated products were not imported to Indonesia and all its dairy products in Indonesia are safe to consume. However, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) revealed on Wednesday that the tainted infant formula products may have been illegally imported to Indonesia from Malaysia through Batam. The products are Dumex mamex Cherish Step 1 and Dumex Dupro Step 2, which were produced by Danone Dumex Malaysia.
Spokesperson from Danone Indonesia for milk products Putri Realita said that Danone Indonesia was aware of the on-going situation in New Zealand regarding the contaminated materials that had been supplied by Fonterra to Danone.
“We understand that this might make the public, especially mothers panic. However, we can confirm that this situation doesn’t affect any of Danone’s products produced in Indonesia,” she said.
She added that the milk products manufactured by Danone in Indonesia had passed strict quality control testing and were safe to consume.
Putri added that Danone Indonesia did not distribute Danone Dumex products to Indonesian consumers. However, she admitted that the products were still available in Indonesia. “Other distributors in Indonesia might have provided these products to Indonesian consumers,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Mother and Children’s Nutritional Products Producers Association (APPNIA) said on Thursday that eleven milk companies in Indonesia that produced infant formula did not use the contaminated materials from New Zealand.