Beijing: A probe has found no evidence of
link between a Chinese milk powder brand and growth of breasts
in three babies in China, the health ministry said on Sunday.
Experts dismissed allegations that infant food product
by Synutra International Inc. was responsible for premature
growth of breasts in babies, saying it was a common clinical
condition rather than excessive hormones in the milk powder.
The investigation team appointed by the ministry to
probe the charge, told the media here that the probe found no
evidence that milk powder made by the Chinese company caused
three infant girls to grow breasts.
Ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said the probe found
the hormone content of the milk powder within normal
The babies went through "mini-puberty" but their bones
and body size are normal for their age, said Wu Xueyan, the
director of endocrinology for Peking Union Hospital.
The breast growth is "within normal physical range"
and less than what would be caused by large amounts of
external estrogen, the female sex hormone, said Wu, a
physician, at the news conference.
Earlier this month, parents and doctors in Hubei were
reported voicing fears that milk powder produced by
Nasdaq-listed Synutra International had caused at least three
infant girls to develop prematurely. One mother asserted that
the company even offered her compensation of about USD 300 to
withdraw her allegations.
Deng said food safety experts led by the Chinese
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) tested
the residue of milk powder consumed by the three infant girls,
as well 42 samples of Synutra products on the market and 31
samples of dairy products from other producers.
The content of hormone additives found in the sample
products were within safe limits, he said.
Doctors, who examined the three infants, found the
cases of premature development were not serious.
The early appearance of breasts was a common clinical
condition and there had been no notable rise across the
country in premature development of breasts in children, Deng
The allegations carried by some of the state-run
Chinese newspapers invoked fears akin to melamine milk scandal
which affected several hundred children in China in 2008.
Synutra International, which one of the leading infant
milk producing companies in China, heaved a sigh relief over
the ministry clearing its product.
Zhang Yingjiu, public relations manager of Synutra
International, told state-run Xinhua news agency that the
company appreciated the ministry`s prompt investigation.