Saturday, August 4, 2012

Quality Control

For the past few weeks, NZ and I have been going back and forth on whether or not buying formula here in China is safe to supplement with. We brought over a suitcase full of Enfamil, and out of the 10 we brought, we have 3.5 left. I grossly underestimated how much he would go through, especially since I only nurse at home, and when we are on the go, he gets formula. Call me a prude, but nursing in public just isn't my thing.

Anyways, back to the safety of formula sold in China.

We've looked at every grocery here in Wuxi, and have found a similar logo to Enfamil, but it's packaged slightly different ( metal canisters vs. plastic containers) and they're called EnfaPRO or EnfaGROW, rather than ENFAMIL. This sketched me out a bit, and I did some Internet research ( yes, I know you can find anything on the Internet) and found out that there were a handful of babies that died from Enfamil sold in China this year. Back in Sept 2011, Walmart in the US had to pull a "lot" of Enfamil from it's shelves due to contamination and an infant death attributed to said contamination.

The death of the babies in China....same lot number that was pulled from the shelves in the States.

My guess is that someone picked up the pulled lot for a steal of a deal, and turned around and sold them here in China, with no regard to safety or humanity.


How valid this story may be?  I don't know...but I'm not willing to chance anything.

A colleague of NZ's who is a Chinese national even tells us that we should not buy anything ( sunscreen, milk, diapers, formula, baby food, yogurt) that comes from China. She has an 18 month old daughter and she imports these items from the States. That alone, speaks volumes.

Still curious about the EnfaPRO we keep seeing on the shelves, that look mysteriously similar to what we buy at home under a different name and package, I contacted Mead Johnson directly and asked about the safety and quality of the product available in China.

Rest assured, the EnfaPRO and EnfaGROW are Mead Johnson products, however, the following line in the emailed response I got today has made the decision to continue to import  US made formula cut and dry.

...The formulas available in other countries are manufactured to meet the requirements of those countries; there may be slight differences when compared to products sold in the United States/your country....

So, what the Consumer Care Specialist is saying, is that although the EnfaPRO and EnfaGROW products  are in fact Mead Johnson brand, they are only required to meet Chinese standards, not those of Mead Johnson USA.

Anyone want to take a guess what my suitcase will be filled with on our return trip from the States?

That's right...

Good ol American made formula.


  1. Yikes! I'm sure it's expensive having that shipped over (as if formula isn't expensive anyway!), but I would be doing the same. Not worth chancing it.

  2. Totally not worth chancing it; good for you for being so careful!! Can the American version be shipped to you from a family member? Also, are you pumping at all? Even if you start now, your body will quickly produce more milk to meet the demand and you could freeze it for a rainy day (if you ever run out of formula), or take it on the go since you don't want to nurse in public.

  3. I recently read the article in Vogue about the American ambassadors to China- the wife said their family is "very picky" about what they eat in China, due to the differences in standards between China & USA. The family is of Chinese descent. If they are at the top and still not receiving the best, I say good on you for holding your standard higher as well! Hugs to all, Vernie B.

    1. Yep. We are even going to import his next carseat, even though many are made here. I just feel better knowing they meet US crash test standards. NZ learned that just because things are brand name here, doesn't mean that they are of US quality and safety standards. I'd assume this goes for carseats as well as formula. Car seat post coming soon.

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    1. ooops, didn't mean to delete my comment! That's so scary! If you are able to pump and save that would be great!