Frequently Asked Questions
Concerns of Locally Available Infant Formula
1.1) Why was the study conducted?
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has embarked on a two-year programme to test the nutritional composition of infant and follow-up formula available in the local market and planned to collect 48 products for laboratory testing in 2012-2013.
1.2) How was the study done?
At present, there are about 40 brands encompassing about 60 infant formula products in the retail market according to the latest available information. In May 2012, 14 products were taken by CFS for analysis of their nutritional composition.
1.3) What are the salient findings of the first round of the study?
Among the 14 products analysed, results of iodine content of 6 were found not complied with the Codex standard. Codex is an internationally recognised organisation which develops harmonised international food standards to protect the health of the consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade.
Taken into consideration the World Health Organization (WHO)'s recommended daily iodine intake level, CFS is of the view that 2 of the 6 products, namely Wakodo 和光堂初生嬰兒奶粉 and Morinaga 森永初生嬰兒奶粉 , would pose public health risks to exclusively formula-fed infants who would rely solely on the formulae due to iodine deficiency.
To overcome the limitation of a possible within lot variation of the nutrient content, the CFS had collected further samples of each of the two alleged Japanese infant formulae, namely Wakodo and Morinaga, for a repeated testing. The results reported on 6 August found that Wakodo contained iodine of 94μg/kg and Morinaga contained iodine of 180μg/kg.
Such results indicated that exclusively feeding an infant 0-6 months old of an average weight with the alleged Wakodo product, according to the manufacturer's instruction, may increase his/her risk of subclinical hypothyroidism. If the thyroid gland's normal functions are significantly affected, there may be potential impact on the brain development of infants.
Such results indicated that exclusively feeding an infant 4-6 months old of an average weight with the alleged Morinaga product, according to the manufacturer's instruction, may increase his/her risk of subclinical hypothyroidism. If the thyroid gland's normal functions are significantly affected, there may be potential impact on the brain development of infants.
In view of the fact that, out of the first batch of 14 samples analysed, two Japanese infant formula samples were detected with rather low iodine content and may have impact on infants' thyroid function, the CFS has stepped up sampling of powdered formulae catered for infants below six months old available in the market for testing on their iodine content. The results will be uploaded on to the CFS website.
By the end of August, the CFS has announced the test results of 59 infant formulae. Only six infant formulae manufactured in Japan were found to have rather low iodine content.