food giant Nestle, one of the largest producers of baby
foods in the world, has recalled its baby milk product
from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy due to possible
chemical contamination with a printing ink chemical -
isopropyl thioxanthone (ITX).
Italian police have seized several million litres of the
product from shops and depots, after traces of the photographic
chemical used in the printing on the tetrapack milk cartons
were found in some samples. Of the four countries Italy
is the largest market for Nestle.
to the Italian forestry service, whose responsibilities
include food safety, the products being impounded were
marketed under the brand names of Nidina1 and 2, Latte
Mio and Mio Cereali. A spokeswoman said the sequestration
order, issued by a prosecutor in the east coast town of
Ascoli, only affected cartons with an expiry date of September
2006, except in the case of Nidina 1, on which the expiry
date was May 2006.
has denied that the chemical poses a health risk and its
chairman and CEO Peter Brabeck dismissed the recall as
a "storm in a teacup" in Zurich on Wednesday.
He also told journalists that traces of ink from the Tetra
Pak packaging, posed "no risk to safety."
According to a statement from Nestle, "This decision
was taken as extreme precautionary measure to reassure
consumers." The company has recalled the cartons
with an expiry date of September 2006. Nestlé said
that a week ago it had begun withdrawing "all liquid
infant formula milks packed in offset printed cartons".
Nidina 1 is for babies, whereas Nidina 2 and Latte Mio
are for infants of more than six months, a spokeswoman
Spain a Nestlé spokesman confirmed yesterday, however,
that "to maximise guarantees to the consumer"
it had ordered the withdrawal of three types of baby milk
with use-by dates previous to June or August 2006.
scare began in September when a sample of liquid baby
milk produced by Nestle showed traces of ITX, which the
Italian authorities say could be toxic. These had revealed
traces of ITX and set off the investigation that led to
yesterday''s nationwide operation. On September 8, Italy
issued a notification to other EU states through the so-called
Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, informing them of
ITX seepage in a packet made in Spain. According to the
European food safety authority, notifications of this
sort are issued "when immediate action is required".
is subject to strict handling precautions. One manufacturer''s
website recommends the wearing of "chemical safety
goggles, compatible chemical-resistant gloves and [a]
respirator". It says those dealing with ITX should
avoid inhalation, contact with eyes, skin and clothing
and prolonged or repeated exposure, and should wash thoroughly
after handling it.
company spokesman in Switzerland said a new packaging
process had been put in place to prevent contamination.
Nestle is the world''s largest food company, maker of KitKat
chocolate wafers and Nescafe coffee, and one of the largest
makers of baby food.