The General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression at the Ministry of Commerce banned the Nutrilatt powdered milk formula on Thursday after it was found to lack the proper iron content.

The department ordered all vendors to immediately stop the product’s import and distribution from Thursday until further notice.

A Ministry of Commerce notice released on Thursday said: “Owners of supermarkets, pharmacies and stores throughout the country have to halt sales of Nutrilatt powdered milk with code numbers 487, 488, 536, 537, 538 and 539. They have to return the product to the General Department.”

The ministry also required General Department officials to inspect supermarkets, pharmacies and stores to confiscate the product if it is still stocked.

The ministry called on parents and guardians to stop giving their children the milk. They were urged to file a complaint at the General Department with relevant documents attached if they suspect that their babies have been affected by this product.

Hopefully, all parties will halt the use and sale of this product to prevent deleterious health effects to children, the ministry said.

Tests of Nutrilatt powdered milk formula administered by Eurofins Food Testing Singapore Pte Ltd in Singapore revealed that the formula had less than 0.25mg/100g, which is less than the minimum required by international codec standards.

According to the standards, the formula should have at least 2.28mg/100g for products designed for babies aged up to six months and at least 4.72 mg/100g for formula aimed at babies aged between six and 12 months.

The test results confirmed concerns about Nutrilatt’s iron levels which were raised at an August 26 meeting hosted by the General Department and attended by Nutrilatt representatives, families of victims who used the product and civil society organisations.

An initial test of the formula revealed lower iron levels than asserted by Nutrilatt’s representatives.

Nutrilatt has refuted the claims.