Illegal substances detected in Wei Quan's Oh-Baby formula powder 01-10-2022

According to a notice on food safety issued by the Market Supervision and Administration Bureau of Zhejiang Province, ethylvanillin was recently detected in Wei Quan's Oh-Baby formula powder, an infant formula for babies of 0 to 6 months. The product is produced by Hangzhou Weiquan Biotechnology Food Co., Ltd. China's regulations stipulate that ethylvanillin should not be used in infant milk powder, and therefore the product has been determined to be illegal.

According to the notice, ethylvanillin in Wei Quan's Oh-Baby infant formula was detected at a concentration of 103.5μg/kg. The product has since been removed from the shelves at the Wei Quan Jingdong flagship store, but some e-commerce companies such as Pinduoduo are still selling the product on their platforms.

The Market Supervision Bureau of Zhejiang Province has instructed the relevant municipal market supervision departments to investigate and deal with unpermitted substances found during random inspections, and the bureau requires the market supervision departments of all cities in its jurisdiction to supervise and urge food production enterprises to find and recall substandard products and take measures for rectification. The bureau also requires the market supervision departments of all cities urge all food-related businesses to take immediate measures to remove substandards from shelves in order to reduce health risks.

Ethylvanillin's unique taste used to hook infants

Ethylvanillin is a type of spice. According to China's national food safety standard legislation, infant formula for babies between 0 and 6 months shall not contain any food spices, and for this reason Wei Quan's products failed two inspections.

Vanillin, also known as vanilla acid, vanilla powder, and vanilla extract, has the aroma of vanilla bean and a rich milky flavor, which can enhance the fragrance of the food to which it is added. It is widely used in industries such as cosmetics, tobacco, cakes, candy, and baked goods.

As a food additive, vanillin can improve taste, and it is easier for infants and young children to accept it after consumption. Once infants and young children are used to the taste of a certain brand of milk powder, it is difficult for them to adapt to other brands of milk powder in a short time. Children have memories of their first mouthful of milk, and therefore will reject other flavors of milk. Giving infants their first mouthful of milk is equivalent to obtaining huge business opportunities and high profits.

Wei Quan's production standards do not meet Chinese regulations

Wei Quan is a milk powder company from Taiwan founded in 1953. The company obtained three patents for infant milk powder both in Taiwan and abroad. In 1992, Wei Quan entered the Chinese market, and the company's milk powder formula was previously verified by Beijing Children's Hospital.

Since last year, vanillin has been detected in a variety of imported milk powders for first-stage infants, which is likely due to the simultaneous production of products for first stage, second stage, and third stage infants. Furthermore, many foreign companies may intentionally add vanillin into their products, as food regulations are often different outside of China.

For more information, please check our Dairy Products China News.

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