Japanese formula milk with less iodine

Japanese-manufactured powdered infant formula products have been recalled after it was discovered the product had low iodine levels.

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has ordered retailers in the region to remove all 850g tubs of Japanese-manufactured Wakodo zero to nine months and Moringa zero to nine months powdered infant formula products from the shelves.

Authorities ordered the recall of the products after levels of iodine were found to be “rather low”.

The CFS are urging parents not to let their children consume the products as they could have “adverse health effects on infants”.

A statement from the CFS said: “Results showed that the iodine content of two samples were rather low. Iodine is an essential micronutrient required for normal bodily function, growth and development”.

Earlier this month, the CFS carried out some tests on 14 powdered infant formula samples available at local retail outlets.

Authorities tested the infant formula samples for 33 essential nutrients, including iodine – as defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The statement added: “This may affect the functioning of the thyroid gland. If the thyroid gland’s normal functions are significantly affected, there may be potential impact on the brain develop of infants.

“The CFS has informed the relevant importers of the test results. They have now stopped sale of the products concerned and initiated a product recall. Those who have bought the affected products should stop feeding their infants with those products and consider switching to another brand of infant formula”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends dietary intake of iodine for infants aged zero to 12 months at 15kg body/weight daily – the equivalent of 90kg for a 6kg baby.

Based on this suggestion, the Hong Kong Department of Health has urged the parents of infants aged one to eight months who consumed the affected products to make appointments for thyroid function tests.

During the past few days, the DH hotlin has received almost 2,500 enquiries from the public regarding the issue.

The Department of Health said: “Eighty-four callers claimed that their infants are mainly consuming the concerned infant formulae. They have been advised to change to another brand of cow milk-based formula with adequate content of iodine”.

Iodine is a vital nutrient which stimulates the production of thyroid hormones which are responsible for metabolic processes and are needed for normal growth, bone formation and brain development.


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