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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 24 April, 2018
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China investigates dairy plans over 'baby breasts' allegations

A powered baby milk is being investigated after it caused baby girls to grow breasts.

Image: misocrazy via Flickr

THE CHINESE HEALTH MINISTRY has begun investigating claims that a certain powdered baby milk has caused three baby girls – one as young as four years old – to grow breasts.

The three girls, the eldest of which is 15 months old, were found to have as much estradiol – a major female sex hormone – in their bodies as an average adult woman, while they had three to seven times the usual level of lactogen, another hormone.

A panel of nine paediatric and food safety experts has been assembled to investigate the claims. The three girls are all believed to have been fed a powdered milk produced by Synutra International, which denies the claims.

The three girls all live within miles of the city of Wuhan,

Its CEO, Liang Zhang, told Bloomberg the company was ”completely confident that our products are safe and our quality levels are industry-leading.”

The multinational’s stock has, nonetheless, fallen by over 10% on the NASDAQ since the claims emerged.

One Chinese dairy association suggests the hormones may have entered the food chain at farm level; China, unlike most western countries, does not regulate the use of growth hormones in producing livestock.

It is believed the cows may have been (legally) fed the hormones and that their milk was thus laced with the same chemicals. This milk would then have been used in the production of the powdered products.

Another of Synutra’s suppliers, a New Zealand company called Fonterra, said it did not use hormonal growth stimulants in its cattle. Synutra also sources produce from France and from the Chinese provence of Heilongjiang in the north-west of the country.

The health ministry has invited consumers to send any food they feel could have quality problems to local inspection agencies where it can be tested.

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Gavan Reilly

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