The company responsible for the tonnes of expired baby formula stored in a warehouse in Lebanon has issued a clarification about the situation.
The statement was issued by Roger Meguerditchian, an executive at food distributor Vivacity & Prodigy, on Tuesday.
“On June 14, 2021, milk products for children over the age of one were destroyed at the official site of food-waste destruction in Karantina, in accordance with the Lebanese law and under the supervision of the relevant official bodies and authorities concerned with the matter,” Meguerditchian said.
“These products had been withdrawn from the market three months before their expiry date, to be destroyed in accordance with the established procedures subject to food safety standards.”
The withdrawal of these products was carried out after approval was granted by the Finance Ministry and the Council for Development and Reconstruction, according to Meguerditchian.
The expiry date of the majority of these items goes back to 2018, 2019, and early 2020, i.e., “before the start of the food subsidization program in Lebanon,” the statement explained.
The statement noted that the process of receiving approval for destroying the stored goods took more than a year to complete, due to the pandemic-induced lockdowns and “other factors related to the country’s general situation.”
“The process of pulling expired products from the market is an integral part of ensuring complete food safety for consumers,” the statement concluded.
For context, the Lebanese public was outraged on Monday after over 20 tonnes of Nestle’s Nido baby formula, all expired, were destroyed after being stored in a warehouse for a long period of time.
It was assumed that the distributors who owned the products had been waiting for the state’s subsidy of food to be lifted so that they would make large profits.
This comes amid a nationwide shortage of baby formula.