Warning for parents as police investigate damaged baby food packaging

How the packaging was damaged is yet to be determined.
How the packaging was damaged is yet to be determined. Photo credit: Google Maps.

Police are investigating after holes were found in the packaging of baby food products in Auckland and Napier supermarkets.

New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) says 29 individual pouches of baby food across six supermarkets in Auckland and one in Napier have been discovered with damaged packaging. The damaged products identified so far have had easily visible holes and have been removed from shelves.

The brands in which damaged product has been identified are Only Organic, Natureland and Smiling Turns. 

How the products became damaged is currently under investigation.

NZFS director of compliance Gary Orr said damage to packaging does occur "time to time" during manufacture and distribution processes. 

"While we've not yet been able to be definitive about the cause of the damaged baby food packages in this instance, we're looking into the possibility that it was the result of a manufacturing fault," he said.

The matter is also being investigated by the police to rule out that the damage was caused deliberately. 

"Police are making a number of enquiries to establish the circumstances of how the damage occurred," said Orr.

While investigations are underway, Kiwi parents are being asked to check the packaging of baby food pouches before using them. 

"You can give the packet a light squeeze to identify any holes or other damage," Orr said. 

"In all the damaged product that has been identified so far, the holes have been prominent and easy to see without squeezing. Of course, any product with any damaged packaging should not be consumed.

"To be on the safe side, if you have any doubts about any baby food pouches in your home, please let the retailer know and return it to the store if you can, as this might help us track down the cause of the damage. If you have any medical concerns about your children seek medical advice."

In response to the damage, Woolworths New Zealand has checked all baby food across its stores and distribution centres to ensure no damaged products remain on the shelf. Foodstuffs is also in the process of checking products.

The stores where the damaged products were found are:

  • Birkenhead Countdown, Auckland - 15 packets 
  • Milford Countdown, Auckland - 4 packets
  • Meadowlands Countdown, Auckland - 1 packet
  • Three Kings Countdown, Auckland - 2 packs
  • SuperValue Avondale, Auckland - 6 packs
  • Carlyle Countdown, Napier - 1 packet