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Hong Kong tests babies over Japanese milk formula

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A lack of iodine is better than an abundance of carcinogens and other poisons in the Chinese stuff. This sounds like more efforts by China to push the rest of the world away while claiming as much in resources as they can.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Kyodo news agency reported that Morinaga believed formula producers were not permitted to supplement their products with iodine because of the relatively large amount of iodine-rich seaweeds consumed in Japan.

Babies do not eat seaweed, do they?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

basroil

A lack of iodine is better than an abundance of carcinogens and other poisons in the Chinese stuff. This sounds like more efforts by China to push the rest of the world away while claiming as much in resources as they can.

LOL, maybe you missed the bit in the article where it stated that the Japanese formula was one third lower than the WHO recommended levels. So nothing to do with the Chinese there merely Japan not following an accepted world standard and getting its product rightly removed from the shelves for it.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Eh, hang on! Let me get this right. A deficiency in iodine can lead to brain damage in kids, yet Japanese law states it is illegal to add iodine so they sell it with insufficient levels of iodine? WTF!!! There is something seriously awry with this.

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I guess the 4 who thumbs downed me just dont like the facts. The fact is the Japanese formula doesnt meet WHO recommended levels, the fact is as such China had every right to remove it. The fact is obviously the Japanese dont believe in putting iodine in their formula as they have enough in their diet from eating seaweed. So easy solution do not market these inferior products in other markets that do not have the same dietary intake as Japanese.

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@basroil I don't see the correlation? Baby formula and fight for resources?

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merely Japan not following an accepted world standard and getting its product rightly removed from the shelves for it.

The article cites a representative of Wakodo saying that the company itself does not export this product to Hong Kong.

Japanese foods in general contain fewer additives than the foods in other developed countries. It is the same with supplements here as the J government recommendations for nutrition daily values in foods are lower than those in the rest of the world. J government also has stricter norms than many other countries for the amounts of fertilizers used for all the agricultural produce. As it has been discussed before on this forum, the government standard for food radioactivity is also 5 to 6 times stricter than that in European countries, the US or Canada.

For decades Japanese babies have been taking this formula and it has been OK for them.

So what is with the bashing again?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@JaneM

Any links please to show that Japanese foods contain fewer additives than in other developed countries? You will find that they ban some things and make an identical additive themselves and also add things especially in kids foods that are not acceptable in other nations.

Do i think Japan is worse than other countries, no i don`t , they are far better than the USA, the worst culprit by far.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Jane

"merely Japan not following an accepted world standard and getting its product rightly removed from the shelves for it." The article cites a representative of Wakodo saying that the company itself does not export this product to Hong Kong.

Indeed it does Jane. So let me ask you this why then do some posters come out with comments like this "This sounds like more efforts by China to push the rest of the world away while claiming as much in resources as they can." What exactly does this have to do with the article?

Japanese foods in general contain fewer additives than the foods in other developed countries. It is the same with supplements here as the J government recommendations for nutrition daily values in foods are lower than those in the rest of the world. J government also has stricter norms than many other countries for the amounts of fertilizers used for all the agricultural produce. As it has been discussed before on this forum, the government standard for food radioactivity is also 5 to 6 times stricter than that in European countries, the US or Canada.

Actually hate to disagree with you. But if Japanese food is so much better than the other nations you mentioned then why do some of these nations ban the import of certain Japanese foods?

Also Japan may not use as much fertilizer but they certainly dont shy away from using human waste to fertilize their crops. And as for Japanese food being stricter l think not, much the same way the Japanese handle GM reporting on foods. Out of sight is out of mind....

For decades Japanese babies have been taking this formula and it has been OK for them.

Hmm, no comment!!!!

But then again as l said if it works for the Japanese doesnt mean it will work for others with different dietary intakes...

So what is with the bashing again?

Funny you pick me up for pointing out facts and call it bashing yet you make no mention of the posters bashing China for removing an unsatisfactory product. I guess as long as its not Japan getting commented on critically your ok with it right?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

CletusAug. 10, 2012 - 12:38PM JST

Food is a resource, just like anything else people consume.

The iodine in baby formula is there for thyroid reasons, but considering the fact that all internationally sold salts have more than enough, there is no real reason to add iodine to something already manufactured with it, and is prohibited by Japanese law. Interestingly though, the WHO recommended iodine levels are twice the international level for breast milk, so even with a third less iodine (about 80-90 microgram/L) it is still 50% more iodine than they would get naturally. And that's before adding baby food and the like.

In fact, iodine toxicity is far worse than deficiency, and the fine line between the two is hard to startle.

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basroilAUG. 10, 2012 - 12:54PM JST Cletus

Food is a resource, just like anything else people consume.

Wow really, would never have realised that. Thanks for pointing that out to me....

The iodine in baby formula is there for thyroid reasons, but considering the fact that all internationally sold salts have more than enough, there is no real reason to add iodine to something already manufactured with it, and is prohibited by Japanese law.

Well lets see Basroil, firstly the items where sold in HK so it has nothing to do with Japanese law as Japanese law ands at the boundary to Japan. Secondly obviously the Iodine levels where not enough as they where one third less than those recommended by the WHO. Thirdly l understand that you fancy yourself a nuclear expert, a aviation expert. Now are you trying to tell me you know better than the WHO?

Interestingly though, the WHO recommended iodine levels are twice the international level for breast milk, so even with a third less iodine (about 80-90 microgram/L) it is still 50% more iodine than they would get naturally. And that's before adding baby food and the like.

Basroil, the item in question (the formula) contained one third less the WHO recommended amount. We are not talking about other items such as breast milk or baby food but only this formula..... Which again was one third less the recommended amount and was therefore removed from sale and rightly so.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Before weaning and the introduction of complementary food (around 6 months of age), breast milk or formula milk is the only source of iodine for infants. Therefore it is important to provide enough iodine in formula milk for infants (around 15µg/kg/day).

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CletusAug. 10, 2012 - 12:59PM JST

Well lets see Basroil, firstly the items where sold in HK so it has nothing to do with Japanese law as Japanese law ands at the boundary to Japan.

The article clearly states you are wrong in your assumption:

"The producers of Wakodo and Morinaga formula said the products were not intended for sale in Hong Kong, which had different requirements for iodine content than Japan."

Your comments defend the decision to publicly humiliate Japan and Japanese products that were already (probably illegally) imported by Chinese (Hong Kong) companies without consent by the Japanese company. If there is no law there about the iodine content though, there is absolutely no legal reason to bar the product regardless, as we are talking about the lack of something rather than abundance of something harmful. Those comments do not add to the discussion as they lack information required, namely if there is a law on the necessary levels of iodine, how it compares to alternatives in the area, and if the products were legally imported in the first place (and by who).

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basroil

"Well lets see Basroil, firstly the items where sold in HK so it has nothing to do with Japanese law as Japanese law ands at the boundary to Japan." The article clearly states you are wrong in your assumption: "The producers of Wakodo and Morinaga formula said the products were not intended for sale in Hong Kong, which had different requirements for iodine content than Japan."

Yes Basroil and didnt l point that out when l said "So easy solution do not market these inferior products in other markets that do not have the same dietary intake as Japanese"

Remember it was you who cast the first stone by claiming this was and l quote "sounds like more efforts by China to push the rest of the world away while claiming as much in resources as they can."

So you are happy to sink the boots into China for removing a product from sale that doesnt met Chinese requirements hey.

Your comments defend the decision to publicly humiliate Japan and Japanese products that were already (probably illegally) imported by Chinese (Hong Kong) companies without consent by the Japanese company.

How is removing a product from sale that does not met local requirements "humiliating" Japan. Japan and China have different dietary requirements therefore their suppliments need to be different. This one does not meet their requirements and it was removed end of story. As for humiliating Japan... Come on get serious, or maybe thats the issue Japan takes itself a bit too serious...

If there is no law there about the iodine content though, there is absolutely no legal reason to bar the product regardless, as we are talking about the lack of something rather than abundance of something harmful. Those comments do not add to the discussion as they lack information required, namely if there is a law on the necessary levels of iodine, how it compares to alternatives in the area, and if the products were legally imported in the first place (and by who).

The article actually states that they tested 14 brands. And that this brand was found to be below the WHO standard which China obviously goes by for its infant formula products. Now WHO states that it recommends a certain level, if you disagree and obviously you do then please take it up with them....

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The article actually states that they tested 14 brands. And that this brand was found to be below the WHO standard

What of the other brands? Nowhere in the article is it said, or even implied that these TWO COMPANIES (note it does not state which brands, or how many brands total were checked from these two companies) were the only ones to fail.

Even failure doesn't necessarily mean that they need to be outed by the government, no harm was actually done, and simply removing the product corrects the issue. There have been plenty of times in Japan where foods have been found to be using illegal ingredients that are not directly harmful, but in all cases the companies were alerted and items stopped at the border without a major press release. There will likely be more harm done as a result of fear than ever would have happened by simply using the formula until they ran out and went to an approved one. This isn't melamine we are talking about.

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CletusAug. 10, 2012 - 01:19PM JST

And since when have you cared about WHO recommendations? You have attacked my use of WHO recommended levels for radiation in food products many times. Why should China be different than Japan?

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Funny you pick me up for pointing out facts and call it bashing yet you make no mention of the posters bashing China for removing an unsatisfactory product. I guess as long as its not Japan getting commented on critically your ok with it right?

Cletus, I have been reading your posts on different issues concerning Japan for some time now and every time I see your name it strikes me that you never miss a chance to lash out at Japan – no matter what the issue is. As I live in Japan and not in China I cannot comment anything about China, but it is indeed clear to me that most of the time your opinions on Japan are biased and sometimes rather emotional as opposed to logical. I am sorry for “picking” you up this time but I could not help pointing out some obvious truths.

But then again as l said if it works for the Japanese doesnt mean it will work for others with different dietary intakes...

Again, if you read the article you will see that this formula was not exported by the company itself meaning it was not meant for the Hong Kong market, meaning that there was no need to adgust it to work for that market. Being so your comment is somehow off topic. The question here is rather Was the import route legal or not?

if Japanese food is so much better than the other nations you mentioned then why do some of these nations ban the import of certain Japanese foods?

If you give me some examples (types of foods and banning nations) I may be able to do some research for you.

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JaneM

Cletus, I have been reading your posts on different issues concerning Japan for some time now and every time I see your name it strikes me that you never miss a chance to lash out at Japan – no matter what the issue is. As I live in Japan and not in China I cannot comment anything about China, but it is indeed clear to me that most of the time your opinions on Japan are biased and sometimes rather emotional as opposed to logical. I am sorry for “picking” you up this time but I could not help pointing out some obvious truths.

And what obvious truths would they be Jane, the fact that l corrected Basroil in his anti China rant. Or the fact that l pointed out the this Japanese product was rightly removed from the shelves as it doesnt meet another countries requirements for ingredients?

And guess what as l also live in Japan l do not limit myself to only support Japan. You are being all protective of Japan and trying to slam me for being "critical" of Japan, when all l did was merely correct a person who was being critical of another nation for doing something that l would say any sensible nation would do and that is enforce its own regulations.

Again, if you read the article you will see that this formula was not exported by the company itself meaning it was not meant for the Hong Kong market, meaning that there was no need to adgust it to work for that market.

And if you read my comments you would actually see that l never actually claimed the Japanese companies exported it to China now did l. Or in your eagerness to have a go at me did you miss that little point?

Being so your comment is somehow off topic. The question here is rather Was the import route legal or not?

LOL, are you a moderator on this site Jane? If not then what right do you have to say whats on topic and off.

If you give me some examples (types of foods and banning nations) I may be able to do some research for you.

I dont need you to do research for me as l have already done the research you see l am in the process of returning to my home country and have spoke to the relevant authorities there about what food products can and cannot be taken back and the list would surprise you.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@ Consume my pain: You will find that they ban some things and make an identical additive themselves and also add things especially in kids foods that are not acceptable in other nations.

True, but then again, the formulas for children (and also dietary supplements for adults, etc. for that matter) are adapted to the local diets of the countries where they are sold/consumed. I am sorry for not having links at hand at present but maybe you can do some research of the rules/regulations set by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Healthcare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to see the differences for yourself. I do not say that other countries’ foods are bad. My post was written in reply to another post which in my opinion was ignoring some facts and simply conveyed the fact that its author has some issues with Japan.

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the formulas for children (and also dietary supplements for adults, etc. for that matter) are adapted to the local diets

There is no local diet for infants. Until they reach the age of 6 months, babies are fed exclusively with milk. Breast milk naturally contains iodine (which indeed depends on the mother's diet), but many babies are fed with formula milk, which has to contain enough iodine.

Then of course, from 6 months and beyond, babies start eating real food, then it can be suggested that enough iodine could be consumed this way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Guillaume VarèsAug. 10, 2012 - 04:41PM JST

There are different types of formulas for different age groups. We can't know what age group the formulas in question were used for in Hong Kong, but considering the response from the company, it is probably meant for older ages within Japan.

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l am in the process of returning to my home country and have spoke to the relevant authorities there about what food products can and cannot be taken back and the list would surprise you.

Oh, Cletus. I thought you were talking about commercially imported foods, but judging by your comment, it seems not to be the case.

If you mean foods which you cannot take back with you into your country as a private visitor, then you should know that this is the case with almost every country in the world. Such prohibitions do not refer only to Japanese foods.

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We can't know what age group the formulas in question were used for in Hong Kong

The answer is in the article:

The banned products, which are for babies aged up to nine months,

3 ( +3 / -0 )

on the people who attempted these sales-what exactly is illegal sales anyway-like not tipping the government for your inspiration, economic investment from your own pocket, and initiative?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can some you posters get it into your heads that this article has nothing to do with mainland China. Does it make you feel better to always blame China for every single problem in this world. This is an issue between HK and Japan. HK may be part of China, but it follows a different set of rules and in fact many (or too many) mainland Chinese go to HK especially to buy milk powder because they don't trust their home-made brands - but that is another story.

Babies do not eat seaweed, do they?

That's what I was wondering.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Guillaume VarèsAug. 10, 2012 - 05:22PM JST

Yes, I made a small mistake, shouldn't be "what age group the formulas" should be "what age group AND formulas". As you pointed out, the age group was stated in the article for the formula (though not babies). They have five formulas built for that age group, and while similar, there are some differences. Considering they banned two products total, which products are they? Why isn't it stated anywhere?

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basroil

As you pointed out, the age group was stated in the article for the formula (though not babies).

Basroil it clearly states UP TO ages nine months so yes it does include babies.

They have five formulas built for that age group, and while similar, there are some differences. Considering they banned two products total, which products are they? Why isn't it stated anywhere?

It is Wakado Infant formula 0-9 months. However all the articles l have seen just mention the companies by name so l would assume any of their products.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Given chinese baby formulas(got probs) and that my friend in HK has around 10 different soaps to wash food. There is very little trust in any product chinese or not.

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The Japanese eat seaweeds and other seafood and do not require iodine like the Chinese. The Chinese don't eat seaweed like the Japanese. The Chinese get their iodine from the salt which is iodine fortified. The Japanese milk formula is intended for the the Japanese market.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That might be true for adults but how about babies.

Got no stake in this discussion either way, my son grew up just fine on formula.

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I think some people are jumping to conclusions that are not indicated in this article. Japan generally has rather rather high levels of iodine worldwide. Japan does not have an unusual amount of thyroid problems (Fukushima problem excepted) or high numbers of brain damage problems as a result of low iodine consumption. As to this article, the company somehow made a huge error and they now should try to make it right by the Hong Kong consumer.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Ben JackAug. 10, 2012 - 09:44PM JST

As to this article, the company somehow made a huge error and they now should try to make it right by the Hong Kong consumer.

Which company though? The Japanese manufacturers didn't authorize the export to Hong Kong. And the article never mentions the importer or their contact in the country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Which company though?

Good question. Hopefully, the authorities in Hong Kong will find out and prevent it from happening again.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

The question is how much iodine is in the tap water in Hong Kong? Myself I never used the stuff preferring my own milk. Think this is more Japan bashing as usual.

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YuriOtaniAug. 11, 2012 - 04:54AM JST

The question is how much iodine is in the tap water in Hong Kong? Myself I never used the stuff preferring my own milk. Think this is more Japan bashing as usual.

http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_n_01_12_Dietary_Iodine_Intake_HK.html

The average last year was 10microgram/L, or about 7-10% of what is required. Interestingly, they still have the same condition as Japan as to the high concentration of iodine in seaweed increasing the total amount in adults. This does seem like Japan bashing, since they singled out the manufacturers rather than the importers that were likely illegally importing the goods.

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Guillaume Varès, thank goodness for you, it seems you are the only one with genuine concern for the babies. They are all that really matters, and this China/Japan/ WHO stuff amounts to a political sideshow at their expense.

However I must correct you on this: "Until they reach the age of 6 months, babies are fed exclusively with milk. "

No intentional error on your part, but babies are fed with formula and/or breast milk, not milk, as babies cannot stomach plain old cow milk or the pure milk of any other animal but human.

I am pretty surprised at this news about the lack of iodine in Japanese baby formula, so thank goodness my child was breast fed too. My wife ate seaweed. Our baby didnt! Duh!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

how much iodine is in the tap water in Hong Kong?

You don't want to drink it. Even less in Mainland China. They have cheap boiled water, but probably not a source of iodine.

There is no local diet for infants. Until they reach the age of 6 months, babies are fed exclusively with milk.

You must live in a very poor country. In the developed word, children start getting food from the second month. They even drink water. In Japan, they celebrate the first meal at 6 month, so the kids have drunk and eaten bits of stuff long before.

babies cannot stomach plain old cow milk or the pure milk of any other animal but human.

Urban legend. What is ideal on the paper and what they can digest are two things. The problem is the babies that are allergic to their mother's milk tend to also have an allergy to unprocessed cow milk. In the past they were feeding them goat milk, and some could digest it. some couldn't. The formula are often made of cow milk purified from allergens.

This does seem like Japan bashing

No. They caught an import company that was cheating. No relation with Japan. I think Hong-Kong legislation is right to be over-cautious as they know the formula goes to families very deprived in Mainland. These Chinese babies ran a light risk, but hopefully have not been affected. That's not the melamine story, not the horrible antics of Mao era when they were giving soy milk to babies and 90% got lifelong sequels. But now Chinese parents are very sensitive so they mediatise every routine check on baby food.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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