Baby milk powder found to cause kidney stones in Chinese infants
Yuliya Talmazan | September 11, 2008 at 11:00 amby
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China, September 11th -- One baby died and a dozen more are sick after being fed milk formula that lead to the formation of kidney stones. Crystallized salts in baby kidneys can result in infection and permanent kidney damage.
The ministry launched a nationwide probe, urging consumers to stop using the formula and to seek medical assistance if their babies had any trouble urinating, Xinhua said.
Traces of cyanuramide, which can cause kidney stones, were found in Sanlu-brand milk formula, the Ministry of Health said late on Thursday. The Sanlu Group issued an immediate recall of milk formula made before Aug 6.
Parents of the affected babies, mostly from poor and remote areas, said they had bought the powder much more cheaply than usual.
Gansu health authorities were aware of the problem as early as July 16, after a local hospital reported seeing 16 babies with kidney stones who had all drunk the same brand of formula, without explaining the delay in disclosure.
A Sanlu Group spokesman surnamed Cui said the milk powder may have been mislabeled and that "someone" might be counterfeiting their product.
This is not the first case of milk powder counterfeiting in China. In 2004, a similar scare lead to 13 infant deaths and provoked mass investigations.
13 babies died and over 170 others suffered from malnutrition after drinking formula made from fake milk powder. The fake milk powder had little nutritional value, causing the bodies of infants to starve while their heads swelled with fluid, leading parents to think their children were actually healthy and growing.
Several producers and distributors involved received prison terms of four to eight years, and the government said it would introduce a labeling system for all baby food made in China that would allow consumers to trace the origins of ingredients and the credit ratings of the manufacturers.
China is the world's second-biggest market for baby milk powder.
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