China- Infant breast growth not linked to Synutra baby formula


Do you see a single day when you don’t use products made by china? I bet! it’s difficult. You start your day with tea or coffee, you might be using the mug which is made from China, the bread toaster, your favourite shirt and many more household products are manufactured in China. In spite of the fact that majority of the products available in the US are manufactured in China; there has been a question mark on the quality of the products. Recently there had been claims that milk powder made by Synutra International, China, has caused several cases of premature puberty.

Details about the report
It has been reported lately that noticeable breast growth has been caused in a few baby girls, ranging in age from four- to 15-months in China due to use of a Synutra baby formula. Medical test has confirmed that all three infants were found to have abnormal levels of the hormones estradiol and prolactin, which stimulates the production of breast milk levels of hormones.

Response from Health Ministry of China
On the controversy of hormone-tainted formula made by Synutra International, the Ministry of Health in China tested products made by Chinese baby-formula maker Synutra International as well as 20 other brands across the country to compare the level of estrogen in dairy products. The health ministry confirmed that they had found no evidence of abnormal hormone content in Synutra milk powder that caused baby girls to show signs of premature sexual development.

Response from Synutra International
Synutra Chairman and CEO Liang Zhang told to media that the report is highly irresponsible and based on speculation instead of evidence.  We have invested heavily in research, quality control, formulations and ingredients of the formula and do not add hormones to the products. He said that the company was working with state authorities, including...

the Dairy Association of China and the Office of Food Safety, to test product samples.

Deng, a spokesperson in China said that the early development of breasts was a common clinical condition and Doctor Wu Xueyan added that the premature appearance of the breasts was likely due to the early onset of puberty.

China has always been in controversy related to infant formula as of two years ago. China was involved in a tainted milk powder scandal regarding melamine, which left six babies dead and nearly sickened 300,000 in China’s Hebei province.  More recently, in July, Chinese authorities seized 64 ton of milk powder and products contaminated with the same deadly toxic additive.

The investigation is still on process and results so far indicated that milk powder is not tainted with the hormone. As I see the milk powder is consumed by hundreds and thousands of infants and only three infants showed the problem, it may be a case of rare early puberty in infants. In my view pediatricians can enlighten further if they have seen such cases in their practices. But still, on the other hand China should take more quality and safety measures to ensure the safety of the products. Whether or not the recent case involve tainted hormone in the milk, past incidences of melamine contamination has shaken the country, and had grabbed the attention worldwide.


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