Apr 08

The controversy on Enterobacter sakazakii contamination continues. The National Agency For Drug and Food Control has carried out testing for Enterobacter sakazakii on 96 baby formula samples. You can read the information on their website. The news is good.

However, the news probably came too late. In mid March, a Jakarta citizen filed a lawsuit against IPB, NA-DFC and the government (Ministry of Health) stating that the brand names of baby formula should be exposed saying that it is against the law to withhold information about the samples. It’s in all newspapers, here is one link while here is another

Now this is wrong. I believe it’s against research ethics to divulge any brands during a research. A researcher is not required to mention the names of the research objects. I must emphasize again that the objective of the research was not to check the quality of the baby formula but to obtain Enterobacter isolates. There is a difference. I hope the courts can see the issue clearly and not force the researchers to expose the research samples. It is unethical

Of course, the general public is not aware of these research objectives and we cannot expect them to understand. We cannot blame them for feeling unsafe about all these contaminated products.

But we can blame the media for misrepresenting the issue and the government for mishandling the issue. Questioning a researcher’s credibility and integrity is the easiest way, and after reserving judgement about the Minister of Health, I now will stop being diplomatic and state this honestly. The Minister of Health is not capable and competent in dealing with national health issues. These issues go beyond the minister’s competence in Medicine (which I am not questioning). In my opinion, the best thing for the Minister to do right now is to resign the post.

And the media continues to spread the twisted issue of contaminated milk which I think is really not helping the issue of food safety in general.

Finally, the public themselves should be more aware and jump to conclusions regarding food safety. After all, we are a community who don’t think too much about eating in questionable places on the side of the road… With proper precautions, we won’t have to worry too much about Enterobacter sakazakii.