A post by Pat
There have been four cases of infant girls developing breasts after consuming an infant formula produced by the Chinese dairy company Synutra. Medical tests discovered hormone levels in the four- to 15-month old babies which exceeded levels for the average woman.
Synutra claims all the suspected milk powder was imported from the New Zealand dairy company Fonterra. Fonterra says it is their understanding Synutra uses local sources and European sources as well. New Zealand law does not allow growth hormone use in milk cows. An historical note: Fonterra owned a major stake in the Chinese dairy company Sanlu which was responsible for sickening hundreds of thousands of children in 2008. The infamous melamine was added by Chinese dairy suppliers to boost protein content.
Synutra says they tested the formula and found it safe. They contend there is no reason for them to add hormones to the product and they do not do so.
There is also a medical investigation into the cause of the infants’ condition. A statement from the deputy head of the endocrine department of Wuhan Children’s Hospital said three of the four infants had never consumed baby formula made by Synutra. The fourth baby had used Synutra but switched to other brands. Something doesn’t add up here given the parents blamed the condition on the Synutra formula. The Ministry of Health cautioned that sexual prematurity in children was a complicated issue and caused by a wide range of factors.
Local food safety authorities had rejected the parent’s request to check the milk formula saying it didn’t do tests on the basis of consumer requests.
Health ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said that milk powder samples have been taken from milk products sold by NASDAQ-listed Syrutra, a dairy company in the coastal city of Qingdao east China, and they have been put to rigorous testing.
He was responding to complaints from parents and doctors from Hubei province, who said at least three infant girls have developed breasts after consuming the milk powder. Medical authorities are also investigating the matter by examining the health of the concerned infants, Deng said.
In New Zealand there are strict legislative controls on the use of Hormonal Growth Promotants (HGPs) – they are not allowed to be used on milking cows.
The strict controls mean that it is not necessary for New Zealand milk or milk products to be routinely tested.
We’ll keep track of the investigation.