Heinz recalls infant cereal in China

Excessive lead levels found in US food manufacturer Heinz’ infant food products has spurred a recall in China.

Heinz said it recalled four batches of a cereal product for infants after eastern China regulators said they found lead that exceeded regulation levels in its AD Calcium Hi-Protein Cereal, ABC News reports.

Standard levels for infant products should be below 0.2 milligrams per kilogram, according to a 2010 government report.

Heinz, known globally for its ketchup and baked beans, said the recall of the product was a precautionary measure.

The company, which was bought out by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc and private equity firm 3G Capital last year, added that the issue was linked to a skimmed soybean powder ingredient used in the product.

"This relates to an isolated regional withdrawal in eastern China," company spokesman Michael Mullen said in emailed comments to Reuters.

"Extensive testing confirmed that no other Heinz baby food varieties are affected."

The Zhejiang Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said the problem affected 1,472 boxes of cereal in the province and that Heinz had told the agency it would destroy another 153 boxes that are sealed in a warehouse in the southern city of Guangzhou.

The regulator urged Heinz to compensate its customers over the recall.

The affected cereal product is aimed at infants aged between six months and three years, according to the packaging.

Heinz apologised for inconvenience caused to consumers and moved to assure shoppers that the firm was committed to food quality and safety.

Chinese parents are already sensitive to food safety scares after powdered milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of at least six infants in 2008.

Foreign brands do well in China's baby food market, because parents are willing to pay a premium to guarantee quality and safety.


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