PARIS (AFP) — A consumer watchdog group said Thursday that testing had discovered traces of potentially carcinogenic mineral oils in several brands of powdered baby formula in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The NGO Foodwatch said of 16 brands tested, eight had residues of aromatic mineral oils (MOAH), a hydrocarbon derivative used in inks and adhesives for food packages.
The EU considers some MOAH molecules carcinogenic, and this year it urged member states to step up monitoring of foods for its presence, especially those high in fat — but it does not set legal limits.
Already in 2017, France's ANSES health agency had advised food producers to take action to reduce MOAH risks by reviewing production methods.
The testing found the mineral oils in baby formulas from companies including Nestle, Danone, Novalac and Hero Baby.
"Foodwatch calls on the companies to immediately withdraw the contaminated milk powder from the market and issue a warning to parents and carers," it said in a statement.
Although the exact cause of the contamination is not clear, Foodwatch said oils used to produce the metal cans for baby milk powder could be a culprit.
In a statement, French dairy group Danone said its own analyses had shown "no detectable traces of aromatic mineral oils" in the brands tested by Foodwatch, adding that "we do not use mineral oil compounds in our recipes."
Swiss food giant Nestle did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
© Agence France-Presse
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.