Nestle has not recalled infant milk powder formulas contains iodine higher than the national standard, according to the Xinhua news agency.

He Tong, head of Nestle China's PR department, said the company has not taken any measure to recall or stop the sale of the three-plus milk powder for child growth.

Nestle China said the iodine content in its milk powder for infant growth was "just a little" higher than China's national standard, which would cause no harm to infants.

The three-plus milk powder for child growth, produced by Nestle's joint venture Helongjiang Shuangcheng Nestle Co., Ltd. in northeast China, was found listed in a child food quality survey report as "unqualified for containing iodine higher than the national safety standard" set by east China's Zhejiang provincial industrial and commercial bureau last Wednesday.

The bureau demanded its officials investigate businesses that distribute unqualified food and temporarily confiscate unqualified food in the province.

Upon hearing the news, French retail giant Carrefour ordered its chain stores around the country to remove the Nestle milk powder from shelves, followed many other supermarkets in the country.

The Chinese Consumer Association said Nestle China was given 15 days to offer an explanation before the report was released last Wednesday, but the company seems to give no response, the agency said.

According to Chinese standards, there should be no more than 30 to 150 micrograms of iodine per 100 grams of milk powder. The Nestle product contains 198 micrograms of iodine. Taking in excessive iodine can lead to a swollen thyroid gland.

In a statement, Nestle China insisted on the safety of its product, saying that the figure still conforms to international infant milk powder food standards, which do not specify the ceiling content of iodine in milk powder.

Xu Rongnian, head of the Zhejiang food quality monitoring and quarantine station, said that although the Nestle milk powder contains more iodine than the national limit, it does not affect those who drink it for just a short time.

 Sources with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the State Administration of Quality Supervision and Quarantine declined to give any details on the phone.

But Qiu Baochang, lawyer with the Beijing Huijia Law Firm, said that Nestle's failure of taking action is suspected of providing consumers with false information, who could ask for compensation for buying the milk powder.

Infant food safety has become a hot issue in China since April last year, when a dozen babies died from consuming fake milk powder.