Ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co recalls some of its infant food products in eastern China after they were found to contain amounts of lead exceeding the allowable limit, state media reports. Rough Cut (no reporter commentary).
Ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co has recalled some infant food in eastern China after it was found to contain lead in excess of the allowable limit on Monday (August 18), state media reported. The move by Heinz comes after food safety regulators in eastern Zhejiang province said on Friday (August 15) that they had found "excessive amounts of lead" in the company's AD Calcium Hi-Protein Cereal. Heinz said it is recalling four batches of the product as a precautionary measure after a test found it exceeded the allowable limit for lead. On Sunday (August 17) the Zhejiang Food and Drug Administration said the problem affected 1,472 boxes in Zhejiang and that Heinz had told the agency it would destroy the other 153 boxes that are sealed in a warehouse in the southern city of Guangzhou. Li Hongbing, director of the Guangzhou City Food and Drug Administration Food Production Department, told Chinese broadcaster CCTV that his administration had carried out full inspections of the raw materials used to make Heinz' products. Heinz said it issued an official apology to consumers, adding that it is "100 percent committed to food quality and safety". The Zhejiang Food and Drug Administration has urged Heinz to compensate its customers. Chinese consumers are highly sensitive to safety concerns relating to infant products after a 2008 scandal involving melamine-contaminated baby milk powder. At least six babies died and thousands more fell ill. Last year Fonterra said it found a potentially fatal bacteria in one of its products, triggering recalls of infant milk formula and sports drinks in nine countries including China. However, tests later showed the initial finding was incorrect. Experts say exposure to lead is particularly dangerous for children, inhibiting intellectual and physical development. It can cause poor concentration, disruptive behavior and even death when subjected to high levels.