Friday, September 26, 2008

The China Syndrome: Heinz Recalls Baby Food Batch

The H.J. Heinz Company announced today that it was recalling one batch of baby food after the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety detected a 1.6 ppm of melamine in the product. All other Heinz products were found by the government's testing lab to be melamine-free.

The product being recalled is identified as:

  • Heinz Intelligence Many Many Vegetable Cereal (Product Bar Code: 6901642888480)

The prompt action taken by Heinz is in sharp contrast to the reaction of Nestlé after Hong Kong reported finding a similar low level of melamine in Nestlé Dairy Farm UHT Pure Milk 1L (Catering). 

The Swiss-based multi-national has issued two press releases to assure consumers that none of their dairy products were contaminated with melamine. Nestlé made the following statement on September 21st:

"The Hong Kong Government's Food and Environmental Health Department has just released a report declaring that Neslac Gold 1+, which was mentioned in the media reports, is safe and that no melamine was detected in the product."

That statement did not at all address the Dairy Farm UHT Pure Milk, in which melamine was detected by the Hong Kong Government. Nestlé followed up their first press release with a second statement, issued on September 23rd:

"No Nestlé milk products in China and Hong Kong are made from milk adulterated with melamine." 

Perhaps Nestlé should take some lessons in public relations and good corporate citizenship from H.J. Heinz.

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