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Fonterra recalls CalciYum kids’ yogurt over ‘choking’ fears

1 commentBy Mark Astley , 13-Feb-2013

Fonterra recalls CalciYum kids’ yogurt over ‘choking’ fears

Fonterra Brands Australia is pulling batches of CalciYum yogurt from supermarket shelves across Australia over concerns that the product's “weakened” plastic cap could present a choking hazard.

Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) revealed earlier this week that several varieties of 70g CalciYum yogurt pouches were being recalled from Woolworths, Coles and independent supermarkets across Australia.

The recall covers six varieties of CalciYum – strawberry yogurt (Disney Princess), vanilla yogurt (Ben 10), vanilla yogurt (Toy Story), strawberry (Cars), tropical yogurt (Mickey and Minnie), and banana yogurt (Wiggles).

According to FSANZ, the “weakened plastic on top of the cap may break off” – which could present a “choking hazard.”

Fonterra Brands Australia told DairyReporter.com that the recall had been initiated as a “precautionary measure."

“Precautionary measure”

“This recall is a precautionary measure as there can be no compromise when it comes to product quality or the health and safety of our consumers,” said the company. “The recall of this product is due to a potential choking hazard caused by a weakened plastic cap. The weakened plastic on the top of the cap may break off, causing a choking hazard.”

Fonterra confirmed that the recall was initiated after consumer complaints about the safety of the product packaging were received.

“We have had two isolated complaints. There have been no reports of anyone choking or being injured," said Fonterra, adding that it has already “taken steps” to address the issue.

“Our preliminary investigation indicates that the plastic cap weakens when the cap is sealed too tightly during the production process. We have taken steps to address this issue, including further strengthening systems and processes to have all operators retrained as well as increasing the frequency of testing to ensure potential issues are detected at the outset.”

“Zero tolerance approach” to safety

“We have acted quickly and decisively, because we have a zero tolerance approach when it comes to the health and safety of all of our consumers, especially children," said the company.

It added that it has urged consumers to return the product to the place of purchase to avoid any risk of injury.

“Consumers should not unseal the cap of this product or give the unopened product to children. Consumers should return this product to the place of purchase for a cash refund."

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

Zero Tolerance approach

I may upset a few people here and in particular some project managers but I must say, its time to stop pointing the finger at the line/machine operators for disasters like this. Retraining the operators and increasing the frequency of testing will not solve this particular problem. What will solve it however is if the Project Manager and equipment supplier knew what they were doing the would have ensured that the critical sealing/welding function of this operation should be "locked out" and the knobs "ripped off".

An operator should never be given the responsibility or the "tools" to have control over such a vital area of the line. The machine builders/suppliers have a duty to ensure there are suitable safety systems incorporated to detect significant fluctuation in sealing temperature and shut the machine down when this occurs. Its so easy to do and there is more to this than meets the eye dare I say.

There will be someone in sufficient authority covering their backsides here. Its time machine suppliers took more responsibility for their products and services and high time for organisations such as Fonterra to realised that they have to take a hard look at the level of in-house expertise they have for managing and specifying such equipment. There is no excuse for such tardy workmanship and performance. Its time for a Zero tolerance approach to machine suppliers and give the operators some credit for the great work they do. Classic case of "push the cheap labour as far to the limit as possible" whilst the project managers and suppliers get off without a blemish (in the eyes of the reader at least). I speak as a Packaging Specialist and Project manager so I may be biased but there is no excuse for this fiasco and Fonterra needs it like a hole in the head.

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Posted by Jon L
13 February 2013 | 20h15

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