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New Zealand infant formula found to have low iodine content (with photo)

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (September 4) called on parents to refrain from feeding their babies with an infant formula imported from New Zealand as it was found to have low iodine content and could have potentially adverse health effects on infants. The trade should also stop selling the product.

     Details of the powdered infant formula are as follows:
Product name: WIOM Infant Formula Stage 1 - From Birth to 6 months
Manufacturer: WISDOM Dairy (NZ) Ltd.
Place of origin: New Zealand
Net weight: 900 grams
Use by date: May 24, 2013
Batch number: 43862

     A CFS spokesman said, "Apart from the test results on 13 powdered infant formulae announced last week, the CFS completed testing on the iodine content of another formula intended for infants below six months old. The test result showed that only 3.8 microgrammes/100 kcal of iodine was found in the sample of the above-mentioned powdered infant formula, which was below the requirement of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (i.e. 10-60 microgrammes/100 kcal)."

     Risk assessment findings revealed that when infants are fed according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer as printed on the label, even after taking into account the iodine content in tap water, the iodine intake of infants solely fed on milk reconstituted by the formula concerned could be less than one-third of the World Health Organization's recommended value of 15 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. This may affect the functioning of the thyroid gland. If normal thyroid function is significantly affected, there may be potential impact on the brain development of infants.

     The spokesman said, "The CFS has informed the relevant importer of the test results and learnt that only one batch of products as indicated above has been imported into Hong Kong. The importer has now stopped sale of the products concerned and initiated a product recall. Consumers may call its hotline on 3904 2888 for enquiries about recall arrangements. The CFS has also informed the New Zealand Consulate General of the test results for follow-up actions."

     To sum up, the CFS has so far announced the test results of 60 infant formulae. Other than the above-mentioned product, six Japanese infant formulae announced earlier were also found to have rather low iodine content and might pose health risks to infants.

     Among those formulae catering for infants below six months old known to be available for sale locally, tests on iodine content for two more are yet to be completed, the spokesman said. While testing on one of them is expected to be completed next week, adequate samples of the other formula cannot be collected from the market for conducting tests. Results will be announced as soon as possible when tests are completed. At the same time, the CFS will continue to keep in view infant formulae available in the market and will conduct tests when untested products are found.

     For enquiries about iodine in infant formulae, people may call the CFS enquiry hotline on 3978 0600. They may also visit a dedicated website set up by the CFS ( for information such as frequently asked questions regarding iodine in infant formulae and iodine levels in tested infant formulae.  

     In view of the latest findings, a spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said that infants who are taking the above-mentioned infant formula should change to another brand of cow's milk-based formula with adequate iodine content. If parents are worried, they may call the DH hotline (2125 1111).

Ends/Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:50


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