French NGO requires Nestlé to remove contaminated infant milk

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It requires the removal of two infant formula contaminated with hydrocarbon derivatives considered "potentially carcinogenic, mutagenic and endocrine disruptors".

The NGO Foodwatch in France requested the withdrawal of two infant milks sold by Danone and Nestlé. These products are said to contain aromatic hydrocarbon residues from mineral oil (MOAH).

"Toxic mineral oils in baby milk is not possible," the NGO Foodwatch was outraged in late October 2019. An analysis report released immediately after revealed the presence of aromatic mineral oils (MOAH) in two milk powders for babies marketed by Danone and Nestlé. However, these substances, invisible to the naked eye, are considered "potentially carcinogenic, mutagenic and endocrine disruptors" by the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES).

Faced with the inaction of the health authorities and the food giants, the NGO decided to request "all the prefects of France for a lawyer asking them to withdraw these products from sale, in the name of the precautionary principle." In a press release published on Wednesday, July 1, Karine Jacquemart, director of Foodwatch France, said indignantly: "Eight months after the alert launched by foodwatch about the contamination of infant formula with MOAH (derivatives of hydrocarbons dangerous to health ), nothing justifies the Danone and Nestlé ostrich policy and the lack of transparency and government actions, hence our legal action today."

The two products involved in the French market are:

Nestlé Milk Powder for Infants (0-6 months) by Nestlé

and "Gallia Galliagest Lactose Free Growth (12 months-3 years)" by Danone.

The alert is taken "very seriously"

"The General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Suppression (DGCCRF) knows that infant formula is contaminated, since it revised it after food surveillance tests."

For its part, the DGCCRF assures that it takes "very seriously" the alert and the analyzes issued last fall by foodwatch. "We immediately launch product reviews and contact the European Commission to obtain thresholds beyond which it will be possible to proceed with product recalls in full transparency," his spokesperson (Loïc Tanguy) told our colleagues at Agence-France Presse (AFP).

DGCCRF internal analyzes confirm that small amounts of mineral oil have been detected in milk indicated by foodwatch. But "intrinsically, the results are not publishable. We need harmonized thresholds at the European level", since the two milk types mentioned are manufactured in other countries of the Union, explains Loïc Tanguy.

The SFAE also indicates that it is working to develop standardized analysis methods that allow obtaining harmonized results on MOAH thresholds. The European Commission is also expected to "provide its conclusions on the measures to be implemented very soon and to define an action threshold".

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