MORE than 70 kilograms of Heinz infant formula products have been returned to Australia for containing excessive vitamin B2 that could lead to adverse reactions, China's top quality watchdog said on its website.

It also destroyed two tons of Lotte's custard pies imported by a company in Liaoning Province that contained excessive coliform bacteria.

The baby milk powder was produced by HJ Heinz Company Australia Ltd and imported in June by a company in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said.

The product also contained less pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) than is required by China's standard, the watchdog said.

Consuming excessive riboflavin (vitamin B2) can lead to itching, numbness, nosebleeds and burning sensation or the feeling of being stung, while a lack of vitamin B5 can cause digestive problems and significantly reduce the antibody levels of babies, said Wang Dingmian, a dairy expert.

Heinz China said the products imported from Australia had not come through authorized channels.

"Heinz infant formula products sold in China are all imported from the United Kingdom and meet China's standard," Heinz China said yesterday in a statement.

The formula of milk powder products produced in the UK is different from that in Australia, which caters to the taste of Australian children, said a staff member surnamed Chen with Guangzhou-based Heinz China.

Heinz's infant formula products and Lotte's custard pies are both available in Shanghai supermarkets.

Lotte had not commented on the findings as of yesterday.

The substandard products were among 126 imported food and cosmetic items found substandard in June. They included cheese, noodles, biscuits, formula powder, wine, water and sauce.

They were found to have expired, contain excessive amounts of coliform bacteria, sodium and sulfur dioxide, register high acid levels or have broken packaging.

Cream and yoghurt imported from Australia-based Jalna Dairy Foods Pty Ltd by the Shanghai Cailu Trade Co Ltd were found to have expired. A batch of honey with lemon imported from Jakobesens A/S in Denmark added a banned flavoring essence and was destroyed, while mineral water from Italy's Pontevecchio SRL contained excessive amounts of coliform bacteria.

It is not the first time Heinz has been involved in food scares.

The most recent case was in April when the UK's Food Standards Agency found Heinz Banana Biscotti, a biscuit for babies and young children, had raised levels of acrylamide, a chemical identified as a possible carcinogen.

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