China apologises after ‘invalid’ Mead Johnson formula safety reports

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Codex alimentarius

China apologises to Mead Johnson after 'invalid' safety reports
Chinese authorities have issued an apology to Mead Johnson Nutrition, admitting that media reports questioning the safety of its infant formula were based on invalid test results.

The US-based firm confirmed that the Hunan Provincial Credit Construction Promotion Council had apology after Chinese business magazine, Caijing, reported that the banned additive vanillin was detected in two batches of Mead Johnson baby formula.

Vanillin, a compound found in vanilla beans, is not approved for use in the manufacture of baby food due to concerns that it can be harmful to liver and kidney health.

In line with China’s National Food Safety Standards for Users of Food Additives, no spices should be added to food for children aged zero to six months.

The firm’s share sunk by 4.3% to $75.29 at the close of New York trading in response to the reports.

Safety confirmed

The firm, which manufactures Enfamil baby formula, stated its satisfaction with the apology.

“We have an unwavering commitment to the integrity of Mead Johnson products, and are pleased that their quality and safety have been confirmed by the Chinese authorities and that the erroneous reports have been refuted,”​ said Mead Johnson China senior vice president and general manager, Matthew Chapple.

“Not only do our products comply with all Chinese laws and regulations, but they also meet or exceed all international standards – such as those defined by Codex – as well as our own rigorous global standards.”

“Samples of all of our infant formula products undergo hundreds of safety checks and quality tests before we ship them to market,” ​added Chapple.

The safety of the Mead Johnson product has since been confirmed by officials from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the Mead Johnson statement added.

Deny vanillin use

The Hunan Provincial Credit Construction Promotion Council had originally announced that two batches of the Mead Johnson baby formula – manufactured in October 2011 and April 2012, were found to contain the prohibited additive.

According to the Caijing article, which has since been updated, vanillin was also found in infant formula manufactured by Abbott Laboratories and Wyeth.

Both firms have denied using vanillin in the manufacture of their products.

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