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Saudis say Similac ban only on tainted batches

Last week, Abbott Laboratories announced a voluntary recall of about 5 million units of its top-selling product but limited the recall to the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and countries in the Caribbean.

September 29, 2010 3:08 by



A Saudi ban on Abbott Laboratories’ Similac powdered infant formula applies only to batches cited by the U.S. firm as containing beetles and their larvae, a Food and Drug Authority official said on Wednesday.

Last week, Abbott Laboratories announced a voluntary recall of about 5 million units of its top-selling product but limited the recall to the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and countries in the Caribbean.

On Monday, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) said it planned “protective measures to ensure the product did not enter the kingdom, investigate its presence and withdraw it from local markets”.

On Wednesday, Hamad al-Kanhan, an adviser at SFDA’s food unit, told Reuters that only batches cited by Abbott as being tainted have been banned from the Saudi market.

“We did not know the Similac sold here is manufactured in Ireland. The kingdom is an open market so nothing prevents retailers from importing products from any country they choose,” Kanhan said.

On Monday, a spokesman for Abbott in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, said Similac sold locally was manufactured in Ireland and was safe for consumption.

“Saudi Arabia has not been impacted by these recalls because the product sold here is made in Ireland while the recalled batches were made in the United States,” the spokesman said.

(Reporting by Souhail Karam; Editing by Erica Billingham)



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