E.coli in Fonterra Cream – Sick Baby Turned Away from Kaitaia Hospital


E.coli bacterium

Fonterra (strange, shouldn’t that be the medical officer of health?) is watching closely the health of a young family after they ate cream which may’ve been contaminated by E.coli bacteria. The brands affected are Anchor and Pams.

Marissa Beesley, 32, her 5-year-old daughter Ashleigh and baby Ella Rose became ill after eating cream while visiting relatives in Kaitaia last week. Doctors who initially assessed Ella said she was “full of bacteria”.

Last night, Fonterra confirmed they were aware of the case and were watching developments closely…


Just a bug

Mrs Beesley took Ella Rose to Kaitaia hospital who “told us to go home because it was just a bug.”

When her child’s condition worsened the next morning and she began screaming in pain, Marissa took her to a doctor.

The GP took a blood test which showed Ella Rose’s blood to be positive for bacteria. The doctor couldn’t figure out where it came from but said it may’ve been E.coli. It was around this time that the Fonterra recall was made.

Fonterra: “Why didn’t you keep the bottle?”

“A representative from Fonterra phoned her yesterday (ed. and he got her number how?) and asked several questions, including why she hadn’t kept the cream bottle. “I said to them we had finished it and we didn’t know anything was wrong with the bottle.” However, the company told her they believed the bottle she purchased could have been in the affected batch.

She had been told by some that cream wasn’t good for babies but Ella-Rose didn’t have much.

The baby was now on antibiotics and was slowly improving…” more from the NZ Herald

Fonterra Brand’s NZ managing director said the company was following up with the family, particularly while they are awaiting results from the tests.

How good are the chances that either we’ll never get to know the results of those tests, or that the family will be offered compensation to keep quiet, or say they were negative?

Mysteriously, Fonterra have yet to say which strains of E.coli were present in its contaminated cream. Which is rather odd considering some of the strains are non-pathogenic, whilst others may cause serious illness – especially in children, who may develop renal failure. Its not as if Fonterra don’t have the resources to do that. Surely the medical profession should be made aware of what they’re dealing with?

The Herald’s report says there have been 17 calls from people who were sick after eating Fonterrra’s cream, four of which had eaten the recalled batches.

There is no way of knowing how many other people ate the cream, nor if they ever bothered consulting a doctor. Given the high cost of a GP’s visit in New Zealand many people may’ve simply toughed it out, or made their way to the ER  – and we’ve seen what happens there.

Fonterra, who likes to refer to itself as the world’s largest dairy exporter, were recently criticized for being tardy for stumping over a potential C. botulinum contamination and have been involved in various DCD scares – including one which arose from farmers using a nitrate inhibitor in fertilizer and led to Fonterra rubbishing Sri Lanka’s testing regime.