Parents are being advised to check their baby’s formula packaging hasn’t been tampered with after a blackmail threat was revealed this afternoon.

The advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) comes after Fonterra and Federated Farmers received anonymous letters late 2014 threatening to release infant and other formula contaminated with the toxin 1080.

The threats were accompanied by packages of milk powder that tested positive for 1080. The person making the threat said the contamination would occur if New Zealand didn’t stop using 1080 for pest control by late March.

What you need to know:

  • MPI says infant formula is safe to keep using. It has tested 40,000 raw milk and product samples and not detected any 1080
  • MPI advises consumers to check there are no signs of tampering before using formula
  • If you have product you suspect has been tampered with, call the police on 0800 72 36 65 or email opconcord@police.govt.nz
  • If you have any questions about what to feed your baby, call Plunketline on 0800 93 39 22

Foodstuffs, the owner of New World, Pak'nSave and Four Square supermarkets, is limiting customer purchases to two tins per customer per product line. Countdown is moving infant formula to behind service counters or Lotto desks.

MPI, with other government agencies and industry, has put additional measures in place to protect infant formula products, including

  • strengthened security measures in retail stores
  • enhanced milk and milk product testing, including a new 1080 testing programme
  • increased vigilance by all relevant players in the supply chain
  • extra physical security at manufacturing premises
  • an audit programme to confirm dairy processing facilities continue to maintain the highest level of security and vigilance.