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Friday, February 27, 2009

Lutein in infant formulas

From AVA:
Singapore's AVA is aware that a number of consumers were concerned over recent news reports in February 2009 regarding the recall of milk formula products containing lutein in Singapore. Consumers need not be alarmed.

Lutein is obtained from marigold (Tagetes erecta L) flowers for use as a food colour or nutrient supplement. Its use as a food colour is approved in Singapore.

Lutein is accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be "Generally Recognized as Safe" and the use of lutein in infant formulas has been allowed by FDA. However, use of lutein in infant formula has not been approved by many other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, EU, Japan and Singapore. Although there is no conern over the safety of lutein in infant formulas at the levels that are currently in use, the nutritional benefits of adding lutein to infant formulas has yet to be established.

AVA issued a circular on 13th February 2009 to remind importers that milk formulas containing lutein has not yet been approved by AVA and should be removed from sale. The quantity of milk formula products found containing lutein was negligible. These products were recalled as it is an offence to import milk formula products containing lutein before the approval is granted.

AVA's checks have confirmed that Wyeth Nutritionals milk formula products sold in Singapore through Wyeth's exclusive distributor, Harpers Trading (S) Pte Ltd do not contain lutein.

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