The Danone company has been hit by several food safety issues recently, including a consumer reporting insects in a pack of its infant formula and another batch of baby formula testing positive for Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria.

Danone is the corporation behind many food and beverage brands sold in the United States, including Oikos, Activia, Silk, International Delight, Aptimel, and Evian.

In one of the recent incidents involving baby formulas in Europe, a Slovenian consumer found dead insects in Danone infant formula. The “Milupa Aptamil 1 Pronutra” powdered formula was from the Netherlands, produced in Ireland, and distributed to Slovenia and Croatia. Only the 800-gram package with item number 100762029 and date 13-10-2019 is implicated.

The Ministry of Health in Slovenia said retailer Mueller Drogerija recalled the affected batch from stores across the country. The agency advised consumers who had purchased the product not to use it and to return it to the seller or discard it.

Danone told Food Safety News it implements strict standards and investigates every complaint.

“We regret to hear of an authority report regarding a consumer complaint in Slovenia about a dead insect in a pack of Aptamil Pronutra 1 infant formula,” the company said in a statement.

“We can confirm that our quality control tests were operating correctly at the time this pack of infant formula was produced. No foreign substance was detected in the batch and the product was safe for consumption when it left our facilities. We have not received any other complaints about this. We are in contact with the authorities to confirm the safety and quality of this particular batch of infant formula.”

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland told Food Safety News the investigation is ongoing.

“The FSAI is working with its official agency – the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, (DAFM) to investigate this single complaint and to determine if the issue is of production plant origin,” the Irish agency official said.

Company says babies may ‘need time to adapt’
Earlier this year, Danone changed the formulation of some of its Aptamil baby milk formulas and received complaints from parents in the United Kingdom who said it was making their children ill.

The company released a statement in July saying it had not had any reports from authorities or healthcare professionals about health issues related to the new formula.

“This formula has gone through extensive quality and safety checks including clinical trials, product testing and product experience tests in more than 1,000 babies. Our findings were also subject to external scientific validation,” Danone officials said.

“We reviewed our factory records and all safety and quality standards were met, including the 31 tests we run on every batch that leaves the factory. We have now concluded our investigation on the product and the manufacturing process and can reassure you that there are no safety issues with the new formula.

“Our experience tells us that when changing what you feed your baby, they may need time to adapt and there may be some temporary changes to their digestive pattern.”

Danone said the new formulation requires different preparation and includes updated instructions on the packaging.

Singapore recall
In another incident, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore detected Cronobacter sakazakii (formerly Enterobacter sakazakii) bacteria in samples of Dumex Mamil Gold Infant Milk Formula – Step 1 (850g).

Recalled infant formula in Singapore

The agency told the importer, Danone Dumex, to recall the implicated batch which has expiry date 11-9-2019 and batch number 09117R1.

Dumex said it was aware of the possible presence of Cronobacter sakazakii in two sampled tins from one batch of the infant formula which originated in Malaysia.

“As Dumex places high priority on food safety and quality, we have taken immediate precautionary steps to retrieve the specific batch from the shelves and can confirm that it has been completely removed. We are working very closely with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore to look into this matter. To date, there has not been any customer feedback on this issue,” according to a company statement.

Customers who have purchased the affected batch are advised not to feed it to children or otherwise consume it.

Cronobacter sakazakii is a bacterium found in the environment that can survive dry conditions, such as in food like infant formula and powdered milk. Cronobacter infections are rare, however they can be fatal to newborns as they may cause meningitis or sepsis. Examples of symptoms in infants with infection include fever, poor feeding or lethargy.

More problems
Danone also recalled one flavor of 125-gram containers of Activia sold in four packs and eight packs this past week after plastic fragments were found in the yogurt in Poland.

Three consumers in Finland reported finding pieces of red plastic in Strawberry Activia with the expiration date 16-08-2018. Affected product was distributed to Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)