Milk Formula That Caused Breast Growing In Babies Triggers Further Dairy Tests In China

Aug 14th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

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Main Category: Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Also Included In: Nutrition / Diet;  Endocrinology
Article Date: 14 Aug 2010 – 8:00 PDT

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After claims came in that a brand of infant formula caused breast growth in some babies, Chinese authorities said they are testing a wide range of dairy products, as well as breast milk. It is alleged that formula milk from Synutra International is tainted with hormones and causes premature puberty in Hubei province.

Synutra International adamantly denies its products are tainted. The company’s share price has dropped 35%.

This is not the first time food safety problems concerning infant formula or milk powder have been reported in China. Two years ago melamine (a colourless crystalline compound used in making synthetic resins; 2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5-triazine. Formula: C3H6N6) was detected in milk products produced by 22 different Chinese companies, leading to the illnesses or deaths of at least 300,000 Chinese children. Melamine had been added to mask tests for protein content.

Chinese health authorities say tests are currently undergoing on milk products in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as some other major cities. They say it will take a few days before test results are back.

The current allegedly tainted milk products are said to cause unusually high levels of estradiol and prolactin – hormones which stimulate the production of breast milk (lactation).

The Health Ministry says a panel of nine experts has been assembled to carry out the investigation, consisting of endocrinologists (hormone specialist doctors), pediatricians and food safety experts.

So far, three cases have been reported in Hubei of infants with abnormal estradiol and prolactin hormone levels. Their parents suspect this was caused by consuming milk formula made by Synutra International.

The father of a one-year-old girl in Beijing told China Daily, a Chinese newspaper that his daughter was diagnosed with premature puberty signs and symptoms. According to the BBC, the father is “furious”.

Synutra International Inc. response

Synutra International, Inc. (Nasdaq: SYUT), says it has provided an update on media coverage of infant formula allegations by highlighting the following articles:

  • Fonterra’s Official Announcement

    Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., a supplier of milk powder to Synutra International, announced on August 11, 2010 that it remains 100% confident in the quality of its products. It stated that New Zealand’s strict legislative controls prohibit the use of Hormonal Growth Promotants (HGPs) on milk producing cows.

  • Experts Find No Direct Links Between Premature Development and Synutra’s Infant Formula

    CBN reported today that a panel of experts, assembled by the Ministry of Health on August 11, 2010 to investigate the premature development claims in Hubei, found no evidence to link the three infant girls’ premature development with Synutra’s infant formula.

  • Expert Believes Artificial Hormones were not Added to Cow Feed

    The Jinghua Times reported that Shuhuai Wang, a researcher with China’s Institute of Veterinary Drug Control, stated during an interview regarding hormones that companies would not add artificial estrogen hormones to cow feed as it will disrupt milk production.

Source: China Daily, BBC, Synutra International.

Written by Christian Nordqvist

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