Two Japanese infant formulae found to have low iodine conten
(August 08, 2012)
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 8) called
on parents not to let their babies consume two powdered infant
formulae imported from Japan as their iodine content are rather low
and could have potential adverse health effects on infants. The
trade should also stop selling the products.
Details of two powdered infant formulae are as follows:The CenThe
Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene
Department today (August 8) called on parents not to let their
babies consume two powdered infant formulae imported from Japan as
their iodine content are rather low and could have potential
adverse health effects on infants. The trade should also stop
selling the products.
Details of two powdered infant formulae are as follows:
(1) Product name: Wakodo (for 0 to 9 months old)
Manufacturer: Wakodo Co. Ltd
Place of origin: Japan
Net weight: 850 grams
Batch number: All batches
(2) Product name: Morinaga (for 0 to 9 months old)
Manufacturer: Morinaga & Co. Ltd
Place of origin: Japan
Net weight: 850 grams
Batch number: All batches
A spokesman for the CFS said, "The CFS has taken 14 samples of
powdered infant formulae at local outlets for testings of their
content of energy and 33 essential nutrients defined by Codex
Alimentarius Commission (Codex). Results showed that the iodine
content of two samples were rather low (see attached table). Iodine
is an essential micronutrient required for normal bodily function,
growth and development."
"When infants are fed according to the instructions provided by the
manufacturers as printed on the label of these two infant formulae,
even after taking into account the iodine content in tap water, the
iodine intake of infants relying on milk reconstituted by these
formulae as the sole source of nutrition would be less than one
third of the value recommended by the World Health Organization
(WHO), i.e. 15 microgram per kilogramme (kg) of body weight. 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 development of infants," the
Although the samples came from only one batch of each product, to
be prudent, the CFS advises the public to stop feeding infants with
these two products.
"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 spokesman
"A list of powdered infant formulae providing choices for
consideration and other frequently asked questions regarding the
health of infants will be uploaded on the CFS website for
information and reference," he added.
On the other hand, the CFS has stepped up sampling of powdered
formulae catered for infants below six months old available in the
market for testing of their iodine content. Test results of other
Japanese brands of infant formulae available for sale in Hong Kong
will be announced later this week while tests of iodine content on
other infant formulae manufactured in other countries will be
completed within this month, the spokesman said.
The CFS will take appropriate follow-up actions if the findings on
the iodine content of the samples may indicate potential health
impacts on infants.
CFS has set up hotlines, 3978 0600, for any related enquiries. It
operates from 9am to 10pm during weekdays and from 9am to 9pm
during weekends and public holidays. Consumers may also call the
importer of Wakodo, ASA Pacific (HK) Ltd (hotline: 2408 2193) and
that of Morinaga, Yamakawa (HK) Limited (hotline: 2487 3453), for
enquiries about recall arrangements.
Turning to the advice for parents, the Administration has formed a
Steering Committee on Iodine Deficiency in Infant Formula (SC) to
review the laboratory results and formulate the follow-up
strategies. As recommended by the SC, infants who are taking Wakodo
and Morinage should change to another brand of cow milk-based
formula with adequate content of iodine.
The SC reminded that parents should study the iodine content in
the label of infant formula. They can change to another brand of
cow milk-based infant formula with iodine content as recommended by
Codex for infant formula (10-60μg(microgram)/100 kcal) .
A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said the department
has set up a hotline (2125 1111) operating daily from 9am to 9pm
starting from today. DH will also arrange ten Maternal and Child
Health Centres (MCHC) as designated clinics (DC) to provide thyroid
function test for infants of one to eight months old who are taking
Wakodo and Morinaga.
Infants less than one month old have iodine reserve from mothers
and the risk of iodine deficiency resulting from intake of these
formulae for a short time is relatively low. Parents should change
to another infant formula with adequate iodine content.
Breastfeeding remains the best choice for infants. Lactating
mothers are advised to eat a diet with adequate iodine.
Infants older than eight months should have had additional iodine
intake from complementary food and/or cow's milk and their risk of
iodine deficiency would decrease.
Appointment discs will be distributed at ten DCs from August 9
(Thursday) during office hours (9am-5.30pm during weekdays) and
operation hours of DCs during weekends. If parents are worried,
they may call the hotline or make an appointment for their infants
to have blood testing for thyroid function at the ten DCs.
The ten designated MCHCs are:
Hong Kong Region:
* Sai Wan Ho MCHC (2/F, Sai Wan Ho Health Centre, 28 Tai Hong
Street, Sai Wan Ho)
* Sai Ying Pun MCHC (4/F, Sai Ying Pun Jockey Club Polyclinic, 134
Queen's Road West, Sai Ying Pun)
* Lam Tin MCHC (1/F, Lam Tin Polyclinic, 99 Kai Tin Road, Lam
* West Kowloon MCHC (2/F, West Kowloon Health Centre, Cheung Sha
Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui
* Wu York Yu MCHC (1/F, Wu York Yu Health Centre, 55 Sheung Fung
Street, Wong Tai Sin)
New Territories East Region:
* Fanling MCHC (3/F & 5/F, Fanling Health Centre, 2 Pik Fung
* Lek Yuen MCHC (2/F, Lek Yuen Health Centre, 9 Lek Yuen Street,
* Tseung Kwan O Po Ling Road MCHC (1/F, Tseung Kwan O Po Ning Road
Health Centre, 28 Po Ning Road, Tseung Kwan O)
The ten MCHCs will be operated to provide blood testing from
6pm to 10pm on August 10 (Friday). The operating hours are as
follows and will be adjusted after review of the service
Operating hours of the ten MCHCs for blood testing:
Monday to Friday : 6pm to 10pm
Saturday : noon to 9pm
Sunday: 9am to 9pm
Parents or care-takers are advised to bring along immunization card
(DH6) or the birth certificate to register and collect the
appointment disc. Updated information will be uploaded to the DH's
website (www.dh.gov.hk) for public reference.
"The safety of infant formulae available for sale in Hong Kong is
regulated by the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance
(Cap. 132) and its subsidiary legislation. The CFS took milk powder
samples for chemical, microbiological and radiological tests under
the food surveillance programme," the CFS spokesman said.
In view of the latest development, the spokesman said, the
Administration is preparing to formulate as soon as possible
regulatory proposals regarding the nutritional composition and
nutrition labelling of infant formulae and kick-start legislative
(Reprinted from HKSAR
Government web page :