AVA should have acted faster in contaminated infant milk case

The report on the contaminated infant milk revealed that Dairy Farm had been informed of a precautionary recall of the contaminated milk on Aug 14, and affected tins were removed from the shelves of Cold Storage and Giant that day (Contaminated Dumex infant milk used at KKH and NUH between Aug 1 and 20: MOH; Aug 21).

This means that there was a delay of approximately one week before the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) made the public announcement, even though supermarkets were notified earlier.

This delay is far too long for a contaminated product that could have severe adverse consequences, including fatalities, for newborn babies.

My child was born on Aug 16 this year, and we were supplementing his feeds with the contaminated batch of Dumex Mamil Gold infant formula between Aug 18 and Aug 21, prior to the AVA announcement. If the announcement had been made public earlier, he would not have been exposed to the risk of Cronobacter infection. Now, we need to monitor his health for signs of an infection, given the incubation period of between four and 21 days.

If AVA had made the announcement earlier, it would have reduced the number of feeds that many infants would have taken from the affected milk powder.

Grace Lim Kor Lei (Ms)

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2018, with the headline AVA should have acted faster in contaminated infant milk case. Subscribe