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What a doctor says:

PARENTS shouldn't worry too much.

A doctor in private practice said there is usually no problem in switching from cow's milk to soya bean milk.

"Soya milk is taken by babies who are allergic to cow's milk in the first place. There is usually no adverse effect with the switch. My own son was raised on soya milk and he has grown up fine," said the doctor.

But some children are fussy about taste, she said.

"This is why some children who have only taken formula milk will not take breast milk and vice versa.

"One way to get around this is to mix the formula, perhaps one scoop of the new formula with the old one and then increase it to two and three scoops until the baby gets used to the taste."

Besides, when baby is hungry, any formula will do.

Parents should however keep an eye on whether their infants develop allergies to new milk formulas.

Was baby milk affected?

Jun 7, 1999

Infant formula from Europe was taken off most supermarket shelves yesterday, following the Dioxin scare. Reporter NG WAN CHING (left), who has two young children, tries to cope, and make some sense of it

I AM stressed. My mother called me in a panic yesterday afternoon and said that the milk formula I had been feeding my 14-month-old daughter has been taken off the shelves.

It is because of the new food scare that is gripping Europe, and Singapore isn't taking any chances.

But as I write this, my baby is crying.

She still needs her nightly bottle before she goes to bed.

We have changed the milk.

She used to finish her bottle of Swiss-made Nestle full-cream milk within minutes.

But Switzerland is one of the countries which may be affected by the dioxin contaminated animal feed.

Dioxin is known to cause cancer in people.

I've given her Dumex which is from New Zealand but she doesn't seem to like the taste.

All this has made me furious. And confused.

Furious because I am hearing the unbelievable.

That something I have been so lovingly giving my daughters may end up giving them cancer.

Has the world gone crazy?

This is not some kind of drug I took while still pregnant.

This is milk powder, something basic and necessary.

How can anyone get such a basic and necessary commodity wrong?

Were there not enough checks in the system?

Or has every thing become so specialised, that the right hand no longer knows what the left hand is doing?

And why should anyone think that what we feed the animals does not matter? Hey, it's all part of the food chain.

I'm confused because I'm wondering why the Nestle milk I saw at a supermarket today says it is from Australia. When the same tin I have at home says it is from Switzerland.

In any case, I can easily switch my children to something else.

But that's not my problem with this.

My problem is that I shouldn't have to fear that what I had given them may be of harm to them.

I may well ask now, what's next?

How do I know that what I give them next, bought off the supermarket shelves, with all the appropriate safety assurances, may not suddenly get pulled off the shelves in another round of scares?

Remember the Heinz baby food scare a couple of months ago?

(Heinz Singapore in April recalled jars of Heinz 3 broccoli, carrots and cheese baby food because they were suspected to contain pieces of plastic which got in during preparation.)

And now there's talk of genetically engineered food or "Frankenstein food" being extremely bad for us human beings.

Why do these food manufacturers want to tamper with natural products to this extent? Is it for the profits?

My baby is fussing tonight, sucking and spitting because she doesn't like the taste of this new milk from New Zealand.

Still I'm not giving in.

But all I can really do now, besides get all helplessly angry, is hope that the milk I have been giving her was not contaminated.

Milk withdrawn

PARENTS who went to shop for infant formula yesterday came away confused.

Because at many supermarket shelves, the brands they had been using were taken off the shelves.

This follows the ban on European meat and dairy products.

Popular brands such as Enfalac, Enfapro, Lactogen, Nan, S-26, Frisomel, Frisolac H and Mamex, all manufactured in Holland, were nowhere in sight.

The Straits Times reported that at Cold Storage in Parkway Parade, the only brand left was Dumex, which is from New Zealand.

By 10 pm last night, the shelves at Tops in Great World City were almost empty - with only a few brands left.

Three of these were soya-based formulas.


Many parents were worried about switching to other milk products.

Mr Richard Lim, 31, an engineer, told The Straits Times that his one-year-old son, Luke, had been drinking Frisomel.

On hearing of the ban, he threw the milk away.

But he was worried if Luke may have trouble adjusting to another brand.

He finally settled on Nespray.

What Ministry says:

HEALTH Minister Lim Hng Kiang yesterday said that Singaporeans should not be overly concerned with the ban on all European meat, eggs and dairy products.

It is just a precautionary measure taken by the Environment Ministry.

The Ministry has advised people not to buy or eat European meat, eggs and dairy products, or anything made with them, after fears that they may have been contaminated by Belgian animal feed containing the cancer causing poison dioxin.

It has directed supermarkets and importers to recall all food products that come from livestock and poultry from there.

The list includes canned chicken and pork, chicken powder, chocolates, mayonnaise, fresh cream, ice cream, cakes/cookies, pie/pizza, pasta, milk and milk products (butter, cheese, yoghurt and infant food).

Although the situation is not clear on products from the rest of Europe, as a precaution, supermarkets and importers have been asked not to sell them to the public.

Once the picture is clearer, the ban will be removed.

Besides, there are enough alternatives to the banned items, brought in from the US and Australia.

The Primary Production Department (PPD) also said there would be more than enough sources of milk and dairy products from non-European countries and there's no need to panic.

The Electric New Paper. Copyright 1999
Singapore Press Holdings. All Rights Reserved.