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Aspen withdraws S-26 follow-on formula over lizard contamination claim

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By Mark Astley+

Last updated on 15-Jul-2014 at 15:29 GMT

Aspen is hoping to
Aspen is hoping to "shed more light on the origins of the foreign matter." (Image: Facebook)

A batch of S-26 Original Progress follow-on formula has been pulled from shelves in Australia after a consumer reported finding a dead lizard in a tin.

Aspen Nutritionals Australia, a subsidiary of South Africa drug maker Aspen Pharmacare, initiated a voluntary withdrawal of S-26 Original Progress follow-on formula with the batch code 40727482A2 late last week “while it investigates the issue.”

In a statement, New South Wales-based Aspen Nutritionals Australia confirmed that the affected batch was being removed from the market as a "precaution."

It added that no other products in the S-26 range were affected by the withdrawal, and that "there have been no previous complaints of this type or relating to this batch."

Australian mother-of-two Artilina Castanares reportedly contacted Aspen last week after she discovering a dead lizard in a tin of S-26 Original Progress, which is manufactured for infants over the age of six months.

Aspen, according to reports from Australia, urged her to send in the affected unit for tests.

Unhappy with the eight week wait time quoted by Aspen, Castanares emailed photos of the reptile-tainted follow-on formula to the company, and wrote on the S-26 Original’s Facebook page.

Origins of the foreign matter?

The S-26 Original Progress batch in question was manufactured by Aspen in Singapore under license from Nestlé.

Following a preliminary investigation at the Singapore plant, Aspen has claimed that the product passed “all chemical, physical, microbiological (including pathogens) ad sensory specifications at the point of release.”

It is also working with the New South Wales (NSW) Food Authority to complete tests on the product in question, and is awaiting independent lab test results it hopes "will shed more light on the origins of the foreign matter."

“From our discussion with the complainant we have confirmed that the product can, its contents and packaging will be returned to the NSW Food Authority," said Stephen Voordouw, general manager, Aspen Nutritionals Australia.

"It will then be thoroughly tested as a matter of urgency in an independent laboratory here in Australia, and also at the manufacturing site.” 

In the meantime, Aspen has begun distributing an alternative batch of S-26 Original Progress that it says should reach shelves by the end of the week.

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