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Premature baby death could have been prevented

30 August, 2004

Premature baby death could have been prevented - Kedgley

Green MP Sue Kedgley is questioning why the Food Safety Authority failed to inform New Zealand hospitals about a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) that powdered infant formulas should not be used in neonatal intensive care settings.

"Had hospitals been in possession of this information, the tragic death of a premature baby last month could have been averted," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Party's Safe Food spokesperson.

"The USFDA warning was clear - powdered infant formula is unsafe for premature babies. It seems incomprehensible that Food Safety Authority didn't pass it on to neonatal units.

"The Food Safety Authority needs to explain to the parents involved why they failed to pass on a clear warning from the USFDA that powdered infant formulas were not safe for premature infants or immuno-compromised infants," she said.

Ms Kedgley said the Food Safety Authority was responsible for ensuring that food was safe and free from microbial contamination and questioned why the Food Safety Authority did not issue a recall of the contaminated infant formula once it had been found responsible for an infant death.

"The Food Safety Authority has a duty to the public to answer these troubling questions and explain what steps it is taking to ensure that an entirely preventable death does not happen again."

Ms Kedgley repeated her calls for mandatory warnings on all powdered infant formulas so that ordinary parents could be informed of the proper methods of preparing infant formula and the risks involved when feeding them to babies - especially immuno-compromised babies.


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