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Calls to PlunketLine starting to reduce

7 August 2013

Calls to PlunketLine starting to reduce

Plunket says that the confusion that parents and caregivers have been experiencing regarding the current situation of potential contamination of infant formula appears to be slowly abating.

Brenda Hynes, Plunket General Manager of Service Delivery says calls to PlunketLine are beginning to slow after a peak on Monday.

“On Monday we had a 400% increase in calls and yesterday that reduced to a 220% increase. Call volumes are still high but they are reducing.

“The situation appears to be settling a little. Over the last few days there has been a lot of confusion out there with parents and caregivers not sure which advice they should be following.

“Plunket see 9 out of 10 New Zealand babies so we tend to be the first place people come to when they are anxious about their child’s health and well-being.

“Our field nurses and PlunketLine nurses have worked tremendously hard over the last few days to get accurate and clear information out to the families we deal with”, she says.

“We are continuing to advise parents and caregivers that they should be following the advice of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). MPI is leading the government’s response to this issue and is the official source of information”, she says.

The latest information from the Ministry for Primary Industries, as at 4.30pm on Tuesday 6 August is:

Only two lines of Nutricia Karicare infant formula have been recalled:
• Nutricia Karicare Stage 1 infant formula (0-6 months) – all batches including sachets
• Nutricia Karicare Gold+ Stage 2 follow on formula (6-12 months ) – all batches including sachets

Other Karicare products have not been recalled.

This is an evolving situation - please keep referring to for the most up-to-date official information.

If you are uncertain what to do, call PlunketLine (0800 933 922) to talk to a Plunket nurse. If you are concerned about your child’s health call Healthline (0800 611116), or talk to your family doctor.

For queries about other aspects of this food safety issue, call MPI's consumer helpline: 0800 693 721 or visit

Further Information for Families and Whānau

PlunketLine call numbers

Normal average calls offeredActual calls offered%age increase
Thurs 1 Aug 2802924
Fri 2 Aug 25030321
Sat 3 Aug200400100
Sun 4 Aug200740540
Mon 5 Aug3001519406
Tues 6 Aug290938223

*Karicare was mentioned in almost half (48%) of calls on Sun 4 Aug and almost two thirds (63%) of calls on Mon 5 Aug.

Switching to a new formula
Change to a formula for the same age range as you were using with Karicare. It doesn't matter too much what brand you switch to. Choose a product that is relevant for your baby’s age, best suits your budget and is readily available from your local store.

Your baby might disagree with the switch at first, but they'll adapt. Your baby may not take the same amount of formula immediately, but they will get used to it really quickly. Just go slowly, and be patient. Aim for small, frequent feeds.

Returning product
Official advice is that you should not continue to use either of the recalled products. They should be returned to the store you purchased them from or disposed of them in your normal household rubbish

Alternative infant formula should be used in the meantime.

You should be able to return formula, even open cans, to the place of purchase and request a refund. If the store refuses, you can contact Citizens Advice Bureau (0800 367 222 ) for further advice or visit

Financial assistance
If you are on a low income, or receive a benefit, Work and Income may be able to help with costs that you are facing because of the Karicare product recall. This could include help with the costs of travelling to the grocery store or to your doctor. To find out what help you might be able to get, contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009.

Karicare infant formula may potentially be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum - a food poisoning bacteria that can cause infant botulism.

Botulism is very rare in New Zealand; the last cases were reported in 1985

Symptoms of botulism in a child include unusual weakness, difficulty feeding, weak cry and having a floppy head. Parents or caregivers who are concerned their child may have botulism should consult a medical professional immediately.

If your child does start showing signs of illness, take them to a doctor immediately. You can also phone Healthline on 0800 611116 if your child is ill.


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