View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
April 2, 2013

CHINA: Our infant formula is safe, insists Hero Group

Swiss food manufacturer Hero Group has insisted its infant formula on sale in China is safe after reports a local distributor allegedly mislabelled some of the company's products.

By Dean Best

Swiss food manufacturer Hero Group has insisted its infant formula on sale in China is safe after reports a local distributor allegedly mislabelled some of the company’s products.

Hero issued a series of statements over the weekend after news broke in China that an employee at a local distributor had been arrested and batches of the company’s Hero Nutradefense infant formula seized.

Hero launched Hero Nutradefense in China last year. The formula is made for the company in the Netherlands by FrieslandCampina and exported to China.

On Friday (29 March), China Central Television reported Chinese distributor Xile Lier was found in November to have mixed the imported formula with powder past its sell-by date and from an unknown milk source. Xile Lier also changed production and expiry dates, CCTV reported. Infant formula worth CNY50m (US$8.1m) was seized by police in the eastern city of Suzhou.

However, local officials did not publicise the affair until last week nor did authorities order a recall of the products, the China Daily newspaper reported on Saturday. On Thursday, at a press conference in Suzhou, local food safety officials said the head of Xile Lier had been arrested.

In Hero’s latest statement, issued yesterday, the company said it “sincerely regrets the understandable worries of Chinese parents caused by the alleged misbehaviour of a sub-distributor in China”.

The company said: “We do not tolerate any behaviour compromising the quality and safety of our products. As part of our investigation in this matter, we are exploring how to improve our monitoring of the full distribution chain.”

However, it added: “Despite information in the media, neither Hero nor the Chinese authorities have found any evidence that Hero’s products on the market are unsafe for consumption or not in line with the defined standards.”

In a “Q&A” press release published on Friday, Hero said it had found out about the allegations in December.

“We learned in December that Suzhou authorities had begun an investigation into alleged illegal repackaging by a sub-distributor. We immediately co-operated with the authorities to investigate the matter. 

“Going forward, we are committed to continue working with the relevant authorities and will take whatever steps necessary to guarantee the safety of consumers. “Given the allegations outlined in the CCTV report, we felt it was right to issue a statement to address consumers’ concerns.”

When telephoned by just-food this morning, Hero said it would look to answer questions by email.

The safety of infant formula has hit the headlines a number of times in recent years. In 2008, six babies died and thousands died after drinking Chinese formula containing industrial chemical melamine. Chinese consumers have sought out overseas brands, believing the products to be safer. Local companies have invested in their supply chains and food safety and the Chinese government, which has introduced tougher laws to try to improve food safety, reportedly said last month it would look to bring in specific legislation on infant formula. 

Related Companies

Free Whitepaper
img

What is the impact of China’s Zero-COVID lockdowns on economic activity, consumer goods and the foodservice industry?

While wanting to protect the country from being overwhelmed by Omicron, China’s adherence to a Zero-COVID policy is resulting in a significant economic downturn. COVID outbreaks in Shanghai, Beijing and many other Chinese cities will impact 2022’s economic growth as consumers and businesses experience rolling lockdowns, leading to a slowdown in domestic and international supply chains. China’s Zero-COVID policy is having a demonstrable impact on consumer-facing industries. Access GlobalData’s new whitepaper, China in 2022: the impact of China’s Zero-COVID lockdowns on economic activity, consumer goods and the foodservice industry, to examine the current situation in Shanghai and other cities in China, to better understand the worst-affected industry sectors, foodservice in particular, and to explore potential growth opportunities as China recovers. The white paper covers:
  • Which multinational companies have been affected?
  • What is the effect of lockdowns on foodservice?
  • What is the effect of lockdowns on Chinese ports?
  • Spotlight on Shanghai: what is the situation there?
  • How have Chinese consumers reacted?
  • How might the Chinese government react?
  • What are the potential growth opportunities?
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Whitepaper.

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every other month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU