Contaminated Japanese baby formula nearly absent from Vietnam

TN News

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The Japanese baby formula contaminated by radiation is nearly unavailable in Vietnam, but local agencies are conducting close inspections on remaining products, an official has said.

According to Nguyen Cong Khan, chief of the health ministry's Food Safety Administration, the Japanese brand Meiji Step, designed for children under nine months, is primarily sold in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Therefore, the agency so far has yet to issue an official warning, he said.

However, he stressed that: "We continue observing the moves of Japanese agencies, and if they issue any warning, we will handle it accordingly and immediately."

Huynh Le Thai Hoa, chief of the Food Safety Agency at Ho Chi Minh City's health department, also said in Tuoi Tre Friday that all milk products imported from Japan will be checked for radiation levels.

According to Khan, the amount of radioactive substance found in the Japanese product was low, based on standards established by Japan's health ministry.

Meiji Co. has recalled approixmately 400,000 cans of Meiji Step on its own, he added.

In fact, Meiji said the level of contamination ranged from 22 to 31 becquerels per kilogram (10 to 14 becquerels per pound), compared with the 200-becquerel legal limit, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, a report on VnExpress Friday quoted Pham Thi Diem Lan from Meiji Vietnam's customer service, as saying that all of its products are tested for radiation safety before being brought into Vietnam.

Tests on samples taken from the company's batch in September at the HCMC Institute of Hygiene and Public Health found no radioactive substance, Lan said on the newswire.

The institute also concluded that the products met the standards of safety under Vietnam's regulations and the General Standard for Contaminants and Toxin in Food and Feed issued by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, she added.

The commission was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

VnExpress said at the moment Meiji only distributes five products in Vietnam - Meiji Mama, Meiji Gold 1, Meiji Gold 2, Meiji Gold 3, and Meiji Gold 4. Meiji Gold 1 and 2 are produced in Japan, while the others are made in Australia.

It said its surveys showed that Meiji Step, if found in Vietnam, was mainly brought in by travelers.

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