China Asks 3 Local Milk Producers to Recall Goat Infant Formula

China recalled several batches of goat infant formula after excessive nitrate and insufficient selenium were found in samples, its food regulator said.

Batches from three local manufacturers in Shaanxi province didn’t meet standards, China’s Food and Drug Administration said in a statement yesterday. The companies were asked to stop production and sales, while also recalling products.

Chinese consumers have shunned local milk products since infant formula, contaminated with chemical melamine, was blamed for the deaths of at least six infants in 2008, one of several high-profile food safety scandals. The country’s demand for foreign dairy brands has caused Hong Kong to limit purchases and stressed postal services as far away as the Netherlands.

The market size of infant formula -- categorized as targeting newborns to children that are seven years old -- in the dairy market was about 62 billion yuan ($10 billion) to 65 billion yuan, according to a release last year from Yayi International Inc., a listed Chinese manufacturer of goat baby milk powder that wasn’t named in yesterday’s release.

Sales of infant formula goat milk powder accounted for 0.7 percent of the total, the company said at the time. That market share was projected to rise to 5 percent by 2020, according to the release.

Nitrate -- widely present in water and soil -- is harmless to humans by itself but the risk of toxicity increases when it encounters certain types of bacteria, the country’s food and drug regulator said in the statement. Selenium is an essential component of infant formula, it said.

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