x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE stock of Similac formula milk 'is safe'

UAE stocks of a popular brand of powdered baby milk have been declared safe after five million bottles were recalled by the manufacturer.

ABU DHABI // UAE stocks of a popular brand of powdered baby milk have been declared safe after five million bottles were recalled by the manufacturer. 

Abbott Nutrition recalled bottles of Similac in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam, and some countries in the Caribbean last week because of possible contamination by insects. 

However, the problem has been traced to a single US factory, whereas Similac sold in the UAE is made in Ireland, according to Khaled Khalim, the general manager of Abbott Nutrition.

"It's important to assure mothers that they are using a safe product," Mr Khalim said. "We have a social responsibility and have been proactive in the US, as well as [taking] measures to let the public and authorities know that the formula here is safe and sourced from Ireland." 

Similac is one of the top-selling brands of powdered milk in the Gulf region. 

The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) inspected supermarkets on Monday and found none of the recalled formula for sale. The inspectors also took samples of other infant formulas to test for contamination.

"We are especially careful on the issue of food items for children," said Mohamed al Reyaysa, the director of communications and community service at ADFCA. 

"We always make sure that food items for children are totally free from defects and contaminants." According to the US Food and Drug Administrator, drinking the recalled formula would not cause long-term health problems, though it could upset an infant's stomach.

The recall includes certain Similac powdered milk sold in plastic containers, in 227g, 350g and 366g sizes. It does not include any liquid infant products. 

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority said on Monday it would ban and withdraw plastic and metallic cans of Similac formula, despite Abbott Nutrition's assertion that the formula sold in Saudi Arabia was also manufactured in Ireland and was safe. 

mdetrie@thenational.ae