Nestle issues apology for excess iodine content in baby formula sold in China

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Swiss food maker Nestle has issued an apology for violating government limits on iodine content in infant formula sold in China, although it denied posing a health risk. 

The flap over excess iodine found in Nestle formula comes amid a national effort to improve food safety following a scandal last year over bogus Chinese-made infant formula that killed at least 12 babies. 

"Nestle apologizes for the deviation from the China National Standard regarding iodine content,'' the company said in a statement received Tuesday.  

"Nestle reconfirms all Nestle products are perfectly safe for consumers to use.'' 

State media reports earlier chastised Nestle after a government report listed its "Gold Medal Three-plus Milk Powder,'' made by a joint venture, Heilongjiang Shuangcheng Nestle Co., as containing excess iodine.Some supermarkets cleared their shelves of the product, sold mostly in Shanghai, the eastern province of Zhejiang and in Guangdong in the south. 

Nestle said it had taken "prompt corrective actions'' and was testing its products more frequently to help avoid future problems. The statement gave no other details. 

Chinese standards require that there be 30 to 150 micrograms of iodine per 100 grams of milk powder.  

The Nestle product contained 198 micrograms of iodine per 100 grams. 

Taking in excessive iodine can lead to a swollen thyroid gland. 

Chinese authorities investigated the milk powder industry after the 12 baby deaths were uncovered last year. 

Dozens of officials and business people were punished for allowing the sale of the bogus formula, made mostly from starch and containing almost no nutritional value. 

Some 200 infants fed the products suffered wasted limbs and swollen heads - common symptoms of malnutrition. - AP

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