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Results of latest round of tests on iodine content of infant formulae released

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 16) announced the results of tests on the iodine content of 19 infant formulae. Test results showed that the iodine content of two Korean infant formulae manufactured by Namyang were in compliance with the standard of their country of origin but were below the requirement of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) (see attached table).

     Risk assessment findings revealed that if infants are fed according to the instructions printed on the labels of the infant formulae concerned, the iodine intake of the infants would not be less than one-third of the value recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), i.e. 15 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, and would therefore not pose health concern to infants.

     A CFS spokesman said, "Other than the above two, the iodine content of the remaining 17 out of the 19 infant formulae analysed this time met the Codex requirement. Among them were two further samples of infant formulae which did not meet the Codex requirement for iodine content in previous preliminary testing, namely Snow Brand Smart Baby 1 Infant Formula with Iron (900 grams per can) and Meiji (850 grams per can)."

     He added, "The main ingredients of infant formulae are biological substances and their natural nutrient content may vary due to seasonal variations and ingredient sources, etc. In addition, there are numerous factors during the manufacturing process that may lead to discrepancies in the test results."

     To sum up, the CFS has announced the test results of 46 infant formulae. Among them, only six infant formulae manufactured in Japan were found to have rather low iodine content, which may affect the functioning of the thyroid gland of infants solely fed on them. If normal thyroid function is significantly affected, there may be potential impact on the brain development of infants.

     Tests on the iodine content of the remaining formulae catering for infants below six months old available in the local market will be completed within this month. Appropriate follow-up actions will be taken promptly if the findings on the samples indicate potential health impacts on infants, the spokesman said.

     "Meanwhile, the CFS will continue its tests on the nutritional composition set by Codex in infant and follow-up formulae available in the local market. We expect to complete the tests on all formulae catering for infants below six months old by the end of this year and to complete tests on those catering for young children between six and 36 months old within the first half of next year," he added.

     For enquiries about iodine in infant formula, people may call the CFS' enquiry hotline at 3978 0600. They may also visit a dedicated website set up by the CFS ( for information on frequently asked questions regarding iodine in infant formula, iodine levels in selected infant formulae available in Hong Kong, and the announced test results.

Ends/Thursday, August 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:05


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