Dusseldorf When it comes to contaminated food, consumers in Germany are currently reacting very sensitively. The scandal around sausage of the company Wilke, which was contaminated with Listeria, has shaken the population. Three people had died as a result, at least 37 seriously ill. Consumer watchdog Foodwatch received a lot of attention when it issued a warning on Thursday morning.
Three baby milk powder products from the manufacturer Nestlé and Novalac are according to Foodwatch contaminated with hazardous mineral oil, On behalf of the consumer advocates, three certified laboratories had tested baby milk independently and with different methods of analysis. Four of the products purchased in Germany would have contaminated three suspected aromatic oil constituents (MOAH). Foodwatch also found contaminated baby milk in France and the Netherlands.
In Germany and Austria are the Nestlé products "Beba Optipro Pre, 800 g, from birth" and "Beba Optipro 1, 800 g, from birth" and the only available in pharmacies in Germany "Novalac infant milk formula Pre, 400g" , According to Foodwatch, it is around 0.5 to 3 milligrams per kilo. There is currently no legal limit for MOAH.
"Aromatic mineral oil ingredients have no place in food – especially in products for infants. Especially with food for newborns, the parents must be able to absolutely rely on the fact that the products are harmless to health, "said Martin Rücker, Managing Director of Foodwatch Germany.
Although there is no acute health risk, the consumer organization nevertheless called for an immediate stop of sales and the recall of the affected products. Each additional day on which manufacturers such as Nestlé leave their baby milk contaminated with suspected carcinogens on store shelves increased the risk for newborns, said Rücker.
Federal Nutrition Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) said with regard to the test results, they demand transparency here. "If it turns out that baby or baby milk could harm the health of our little ones, they must not end up in the supermarket." She has therefore turned on the European Commission.
Also "Beyond Meat Burger" contaminated with traces of mineral oil
The companies concerned were surprised and silent until the afternoon. Nestlé announced a statement later in the day, as did Novalac. "We have been distributing Novalac products in Germany for many years and have never had problems," said a spokeswoman for Vived at the Handelsblatt's request. The company from Cologne distributes products of the French manufacturer.
Vived takes the test results very seriously and has initiated investigations with the manufacturer. "To what extent the allegations are comprehensible, we can not answer yet," it said.
The Food Association Germany weighed down: The products examined by Foodwatch are special products in special packaging, namely metal cans, and not just in the products usually offered in drugstores in bags. "In this respect, Foodwatch does not reflect the market and communicates a distorted picture of the reality in the field of baby food," says Sieglinde Stähle of the Scientific Director of the association.
In general, there could hardly be a zero tolerance for petroleum hydrocarbons and similar substances "also due to the environmental and therefore unavoidable base load". From today's point of view, this is not problematic in terms of health. The food industry, however, is constantly working to contribute to the reduction of the entry.
The magazine "Öko-Test" tested baby milk powder in September. In almost all samples increased amounts of mineral oil-like substances and substances, which can be solved from plastic coatings. The main problem was saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH / POSH). Of four pre-diets, the testers advised, among other things, with "poor" and "insufficient" from.
As the magazine "eco-test" announced on Thursday, mineral oil traces were also found in vegan burgers. The particularly hyped "Beyond Meat Burger" was contaminated with a "greatly increased" content of mineral oil constituents, writes the test magazine.
It has long been known that small quantities of oil components can be transferred from packaging to foods such as rice. Also in advent calendars with chocolate mineral traces were found some years ago. In 2015, Foodwatch had 120 foods such as noodles, rice and cornflakes examined internationally – 43 percent of the products contained aromatic mineral oils.
Recyclers used to be recycled mainly because they are made from printed waste paper. The printing inks may contain mineral oils. According to Minister Klöckner, a draft regulation on food packaging made from recovered paper is being prepared.
The aim is an obligation for companies to design them so that mineral oil residues can not pass into the food. However, in the current case of infant milk, Foodwatch suspects that tinplate cans, where some producers offer their milk powder, could be the source of the oil traces.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) generally identifies impurities with aromatic mineral oils as "undesirable". Transitions to food should be minimized. "A health assessment is not possible due to the lack of data," they say. Foodwatch, on the other hand, calls for zero tolerance for the particularly critical aromatic mineral oils – especially in baby foods.
More: Innovative start-ups give new impulses to the food industry. Market researchers predict a revolution in our eating habits – and dramatic market growth for meat substitutes and in-vitro meat.
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