The powdered milks in question contain traces of hydrocarbon derivatives. - Fred DUFOUR / AFP

The NGO Foodwatch asked Wednesday for the withdrawal of two baby powdered milk in the name of the precautionary principle. Since 2015, this organization denounces the presence of hydrocarbon derivatives, which it considers dangerous for health, in certain food products.

After revealing in October the presence in powdered milks manufactured by Danone and Nestlé of aromatic mineral oils, also called MOAH and deemed "potentially carcinogenic, mutagenic and endocrine disruptors" by the French health authority Anses, Foodwatch "has just seized all the prefects of France by lawyer asking them to withdraw these products from sale, in the name of the precautionary principle, "said the NGO Wednesday in a press release.

Alerts taken "very seriously"

"The repression of fraud (DGCCRF) knows that infant formula is contaminated since it checked it after the Foodwatch tests", adds the NGO which denounces the "lack of transparency of the government" French on the subject. The NGO "urges" the DGCCRF to "make the results of these tests public," as two German states have already done. The two milks in question sold in France are Nidal milk powder for infants (0-6 months) from Nestlé, and Gallia Galliagest Growth lactose-free milk (12 months to 3 years) from Danone.

. @ DanoneFR. @ NestleFr our tests carried out on your infant formulas are formal. European authorities confirm the contamination of several milks with toxic hydrocarbon derivatives (MOAH). We ask you to act! #LaitToxiqueNonMerci

- foodwatch France (@foodwatch_fr) July 1, 2020

Asked by AFP, the DGCCRF replied that it took Foodwatch's alert and analyzes “very seriously” in October 2019. “We immediately launched product analyzes and contacted the European Commission to obtain thresholds for - beyond which it will be possible to proceed in complete transparency to product recalls, "explained Loïc Tanguy, his spokesperson. In the absence of an acute risk to the health of babies posed by the consumption of these milks and in the absence of a threshold of dangerousness vis-à-vis a chronic risk fixed by the European authorities, no withdrawal is possible for the time being, he said in substance.

European thresholds to be determined

The German and Dutch authorities, also involved, did not make any withdrawals either, he said, even though the German chain of stores Rossmann did so on his own initiative. However, the DGCCRF confirmed that its internal analyzes had highlighted the tiny presence of mineral oil in the milks in question.

"Intrinsically, the results are not publishable" nevertheless affirmed the representative of the DGCCRF. "We need harmonized thresholds at European level", he added, since the two milks marketed in France are produced in other countries of the European Union, while a third milk marketed in Germany by Nestlé and produced in France is also accused. "The ball is in the Commission's court," he said.

Wednesday evening, the association that brings together French manufacturers of baby food (SFAE) sought to reassure parents by stating in a statement that "infant nutrition products can be consumed safely". "As indicated by the Foodwatch association itself in October 2019," toddlers who consume infant formula tested by Foodwatch are not exposed to immediate danger "" recalled the SFAE.

The European Commission "should also soon provide its conclusions on the measures to be implemented and will define an action threshold" also confirmed the association. Therefore, manufacturers of baby milk powder "will respect the recommendations of the Commission and will use these elements to strengthen their monitoring plans", adds the SFAE.


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