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Formula milk found to be unqualified

By Zhang Ye (Global Times)

08:30, August 20, 2012

Some infant formula milk powder produced by US-based H.J. Heinz Co has been found to have quality problems, China's top quality watchdog said Friday while releasing a list of substandard imported food and cosmetics products.

A total of 72 kilograms of Heinz milk powder, imported from H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd by Jiangxi-based Nanchang Karicare International Trading Co, were sent back after they were found to contain more Vitamin B2 and less Vitamin B5 than the amounts listed on the label, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said.

Heinz United Ltd, a joint venture established in 1984 by H.J. Heinz Co and Yan Tang Enterprise Corp in South China's Guangdong Province, could not be reached for comment by the press time.

However, the Chinese importer of the products told the Global Times Sunday that the exporter gave an unclear explanation for the product return.

Experts noted that Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B5, two of the 13 necessary vitamins in human body, should be taken in right quantities. Too much intake of Vitamin B2 would cause nose bleeding and skin itchiness while insufficient Vitamin B5 would cause digestion problems and block the production of new antibodies among infants.

This is not the first time quality problems have been found in China's imported milk powder brands. In August, the Center for Food Safety under the Government of the Hong Kang Special Administration Region found six Japan-produced infant milk powder brands to be unqualified for containing insufficient levels of iodine.

Milk powder from Mead Johnson Nutrition Co, a leading global baby formula maker, was found to contain live worms by consumers, according to qinbei.com on August 17.

However, some experts said that domestic consumers still hold a positive attitude toward the imported infant milk powder brands.

"Despite the recent reports about the quality problems of imported infant milk powder brands, I still prefer to buy them. Besides imported milk powder, the mothers I know even use imported feeding bottles," a Beijing resident surnamed Wang told the Global Times Sunday.

As foreign brands occupy most of China's infant milk powder market, the AQSIQ should enhance supervision over these imported brands, Wang Shiping, a food safety expert of China Agricultural University, told the Global Times Sunday.

"The dairy industry in China would be safer after the supervision system is strengthened."

According to the AQSIQ, 126 imported food and cosmetic items were blacklisted in June 2012, 124 of which were food items. All of these substandard goods have been returned or destroyed on the spot, AQSIQ said.

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