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Dextrin in baby food safe: authority

(Xinhua)

09:06, March 15, 2012

BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment on Wednesday clarified that dextrin, an additive used in infant formula and other foods, within required limits will not cause malnutrition or other health problems.

Dextrins, a group of soluble polysaccharides formed from starch, are widely used as an allowed ingredient in the food industry to help the dissolving of milk powder and enhance digestion of the foods, according to a statement posted online by the center.

The statement was made in response to recent public concern about the safety of milk powder after media reports of dextrin adulterated in a number of such products.

According to China's national standard for infant formula, the amount of lactose in dairy-based formula food for babies under 12 months should be no less than 90 percent of the total carbohydrates, the statement said.

That means the content of dextrins and other precooked and gelatinized starch additives should not exceed 10 percent of the total carbohydrates in the products in question. This requirement is stricter than the international standard, that sets the maximum content of starches added in infant formula at 30 percent, said Han Junhua, an expert with the center.

China sets no minimum requirement of lactose content in foods for older babies, and that is in line with international standards. However, these foods should meet nutritional standards concerning energy, protein, vitamin and mineral elements, the statement said.

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