Countdown’s acting manager director Steve Donohue says though these measures may cause inconvenience for shoppers, they are essential to ensure customer safety.
“Some of these security measures will mean it takes a little bit more time for customers to purchase infant formula, but together these steps will ensure constant monitoring of the product, either in person or by CCTV,” Donohue says.
He says the additional security is in place right from the start of the product chain when the formula arrives in Countdown’s distribution centres.
Security measures include moving the formula to behind service counters or Lotto desks so it can be monitored better, with CCTV watching the area at all times.
Random sampling of infant formula is also being undertaken.
Donohue says that customers should be vigilant in checking the formula for signs of tampering before they buy it.
Foodstuffs says it has brought security to the shelf in its New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square stores.
It says there will be CCTV monitoring of the shelves, signage alerting customers to the threat and a worker at the shelves who will oversee customers’ interactions with the formula and advise them how to check for tampering.
In smaller Foodstuffs-owned stores like Four Square, infant formula will be moved near the checkout so that staff can monitor it.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) deputy director-general Scott Gallacher says his office is confident that infant formula in New Zealand is as safe today as it was before the threat was made.
“New Zealand’s food safety model is among the best in the world. New Zealand manufacturers maintain high levels of security as a normal routine,” he says.
“Security and vigilance has been significantly increased since this threat was received.”
The MPI says any customers who are concerned formula they’ve bought has been tampered with should not take the product back to the store.
Instead, they should call the MPI on 0800 00 83 33 for advice, or contact their health provider if their child is showing signs of illness.