Countdown’s General Manager Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin

Supermarket chain Woolworths NZ is recalling a range of squeezable baby food pouches from its stores nationwide after holes were found in about 30 individual packets in its Auckland and Napier supermarkets.

The recall follows the discovery of a mice infestation at two of Woolworth NZ’s Auckland distribution centres, says New Zealand Food Safety Director of Compliance Gary Orr.

“It now looks likely that the damage was caused by these mice infestations. However, we continue to work to rule out any other possible issues in the supply chain.

“In the meantime, we are working with Woolworths NZ to ensure corrective actions are taken so that this doesn’t happen again.”

Product is being removed from Countdown, SuperValue and FreshChoice stores across the country, and signs will be in place to inform customers, says Orr.

“If you have any affected product please return it to the retailer or throw it out.

“Mice must be kept away from food because they can contaminate the food and packaging with harmful microbes from their saliva, urine and droppings. Any food contamination is serious, but for babies it can be particularly significant, so we ask that parents check every squeezable baby food pouch in their home to ensure it is not affected by the recall.”

All dates, flavours and batches of the following brands are affected by the recall:

* Smiling Tums

* Only Organics

* Natureland

To be on the safe side, parents should still routinely check baby food pouches for damage even if they are not affected by the recall, says Orr.

“You can do this by giving the packet a light squeeze to identify any holes or other damage. Any damaged packets should be returned to the retailer or thrown out.”

None of the affected product was exported.

MPI has received no reports of associated illness but if anyone has health concerns medical advice should be sought.

Countdown’s General Manager for food safety, Kiri Hannifin, says Countdown sincerely apologises to customers for the unease the last 24 hours may have caused.

“As a mum myself, I know the safety of the food you feed your baby is the most important thing.  We sincerely apologise for any distress caused to our customers, our suppliers and your families.

“We ask our customers to bring the impacted products back to their local store, or for online customers, please call our customer care team on 0800 40 40 40, for a full refund.  We thank the New Zealand Police and Ministry for Primary Industries for their support to help rule out other causes of the damage,” says Hannifin.

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