August 2010 ~ Just two years ago, China garnered worldwide attention for milk-based infant formula tainted with melamine. The chemical, which was added to fool tests for protein content, sickened 300,000 children and caused six infant deaths.
Back in the media, milk-based infant formula in China is now reportedly causing breast growth in infants. The babies in question were found to have abnormal levels of the hormones estradiol and prolactin, which stimulate lactation, or the making of breast milk. The formula in question is produced by China-based Synutra International Inc.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed that growth hormones are forbidden in milk powder products in China, and Synutra has stated that they do not add any hormones to their products. Peter Ben Embarek, a food safety expert for the World Health Organization, said if hormones are found in the product, they were most likely given to the dairy cows.
This brings back up the issue of growth hormones administered to cows and the probability that those hormones do pass through the cow’s milk.
The MInistry of Health in China is currently conducting quality tests on the formula in question and on dairy products in the major cities of Beijing and Shanghai.